At the end of the 1986 season, West Footscray United, affiliated with the Industrial Soccer Federation was folding. George Bourakis, realising a dream to own a soccer club, cleared the debts of the club, assumed ownership, and renamed West Footscray United to Leros United Soccer Club.
Leros started as a single team club, with the aim of bringing together Lerian expats. Little could anyone have envisaged that 30 years later, the club would not only still be in existence, but thriving, and welcoming players from all walks of life, and all corners of the globe. From a club which played at a ground without a dressing room, let alone any washing facilities, to a club which now incorporates 4 mens’ teams, and an open women’s team. It can now also be considered a social club – a place where players were more than just team mates, but created life-long friendships. This camaraderie led to multiple championships and promotions across the teams.
A dream of George’s was to take Leros United to the island of its namesake. He realised that dream in 2006. After many a discussion, and logistical strategising, Leros Utd visited Leros, an idyllic Greek island in the Dodacenese. Such was the impact, the overwhelming hospitality shown to the team, and the amount of interest it generated in both the hosts, and the visitors, that a sequel was beginning to take shape.
In 2009, a decision to modernise the image of the club, in order to attract more players to dwindling numbers, resulted in a refresh of the club’s badge. That same year, the honour of reciprocating the goodwill bestowed upon the club by the Lerians was realised. The Veteran Soccer Club of Leros was welcomed, and shown around the sights of Melbourne. The discussions that had started 3 years before of returning to Leros came to fruition at the end of the season, as the club returned to the island of its roots.
In 2014, the club began its years of growth when it expanded to included an open age men’s team, and its first ever women’s team. It was decided that these teams would be registered under the banner of Football Federation Victoria, while still fielding an Over 35s team with VicSoccer. As part of the transition to FFV, any ethnic ties associated with the name needed to be dropped, and hence Leros United Soccer Club officially became Maidstone United Soccer Club. Along with the name change, an update to the logo was again undertaken, which still stands to this day. The blue and white of the original logo retain the Greek heritage, while the Lerian castle is symbolised by the stylised battlement atop the logo’s shield.
Success followed. In the years since, our over 35s team have twice been runners up, the open Men’s team gained promotion from Metro division 6 to Metro division 1, and then onto State League 5, which needed expansion to incorporate a reserves team, while the Women’s team gained promotion from State League 4, to State League 2.
Looking back on these 30 years, appreciation and gratitude must to all our past and present dedicated members, committee members, coaches, players, sponsors and supporters who have worked tirelessly to enable us to achieve such successes.