Two former Q-League clubs from Brisbane’s southside are preparing for a breakthrough season in 2022 after being awarded licences to join the FQPL.
Yeronga Eagles and FC Old Bridge – formed by migrant communities from El Salvador and Bosnia respectively – will play in FQPL 6 next season after participating in Football Queensland’s multicultural Q-League competition.
Yeronga Eagles President Julio Menendez said the Q-League provided the club with a springboard to be admitted into the FQPL pyramid.
“The Q-League was important for us to demonstrate to Football Queensland that we are an ambitious club,” said Menendez.
Yeronga Eagles will continue to honour its Salvadorian heritage through its blue and white colours, its canteen offerings and its annual summer Copa America tournament.
Menendez said the club would serve pupusas, a traditional Salvadorian flatbread, along with meat pies and sausage rolls.
The Eagles have also reached an agreement with Football Queensland to have a small silhouette map of El Salvador on the back of its jersey.
“It’s not just the Salvadorian community – the Latin community in general have embraced Yeronga entering the FQPL,” said Menendez.
“We will try and keep the cultural and community side of things, but at the same time, the absolute focus of the club is to move up the football pyramid.”
Likewise, former Q-League champions FC Old Bridge will proudly serve traditional Bosnian cevapi and lepinja bread at their newly built clubhouse and café at Russ Hall Park in Salisbury.
Club Vice-President and long-serving captain Fadil Hadziahmetovic said admission to the FQPL is “a milestone for our whole community”.
The club, which takes its name from Bosnia’s iconic Ottoman bridge which spans the Neretva River, is mostly run by Bosnian-Australians who fled the Yugoslav War in the 1990s.
“We came here to Australia with nothing, and we’ve been fighting for years for the club to stay alive through all the ups and downs,” said Hadziahmetovic.
“As the Q-League became a lot more professional, it made us get a lot more serious and ambitious as a club.
“This is a great opportunity, and we’re already getting calls from players of Yugoslavian background who want to play for us.
“The community engagement has been fantastic. We’ve got a lot of people from Salisbury involved and every time we put on a working bee, people turn up to help.”
FQ CEO Robert Cavallucci said the progression of Yeronga Eagles and FC Old Bridge illustrates the pathway from community football to the advanced pyramid.
“Football Queensland established the Q-League in 2019 to assist refugee and migrant communities build capacity and confidence,” said Cavallucci.
“We are pleased to report the competition has experienced extraordinary growth over the past 12 months, with teams from a wide variety of cultural backgrounds.
“Yeronga and Old Bridge are the first clubs to make the leap from the Q-League to our new FQPL pyramid, which shows the power of connected competitions for aspirational clubs.”
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