The Juventus Soccer Club was founded in 1956 in conjunction with the forming of the Australian Italian Club. Most of the Italian immigrants that arrived were in their early to mid twenties. The name was taken from the famous Juventus club in Torino, Italy.
The first season provided a new lease of life never seen in Tasmanian Soccer. Large crowds followed Juventus and the chants of “JUVE JUVE” could be heard up at South Hobart and later at KGV, Grove Road. Rivalries with other ethnic based clubs, Olympia and Croatia, brought estimated crowds of up to 2000.
In our first season and we finished a creditable sixth and our first trophy came in 1960 when, after a 0-0 draw with South Hobart, the match went our way on receiving more corners than our opponents and we were crowned Ascot Cup Winners (Statewide Cup). Our first major trophy won was the Ampol Statewide Cup in 1967.
The taste of success had started and two years later in 1969 the first of many Southern and State Titles were won. Southern and state titles followed in 1971, 1972 and 1973. Also in 1971 a player who played in the Italian Serie A with Cagliari found his way to Tasmania by marrying a local girl and played most of the ’71 season until he returned to Italy to continue his career.
In 1974 Ken Worden was appointed coach and he later went on to become a leading coach in the top leagues of Asia. When the state league was formed in 1978 the Tasmanian Soccer Association of the time decided not to accept our application and we were placed in southern division 1. Classed as a second division side we beat White Eagles, current State Champions and winners of the State League that year, 1-0 in the preseason cup final and beat them again 3-2 in the semi final of the Ampol Statewide Cup to make the first final under the new floodlights at KGV Soccer Park only to loose 5-0 to Croatia in front of 3500 people.
In 1979 we won promotion to the State League going through the season undefeated to be crowned southern champions and it was the start of the club bringing in foreign imports. Two Fijian players were flown in for the season and one of them, John Munday, played for Fiji in the team that beat Australia 1-0 a year earlier.
The next year three more imports were acquired, this time from England to coach and develop the many talented juniors that we had at our club. Peter Brine who played almost 80 games with Middlesbourgh in the English 1st Division, Eric Young former Manchester United player and winner of the 1982 Rothmans Gold Medal and dynamic scorer Bruce Ward who played in the lower English leagues. Bringing out the imports proved successful with a state premiership in 1983.
Ken Morton took over as coach in 1984 and 1985 and, with an already made team, won both state titles. In 1985 and 1986 Juventus qualified for the National Cup but were beaten – but not disgraced – in the first round by Heidelberg United and South Melbourne Hellas respectfully.
Also during the late 80s and early 90s junior Jonathon Carter was selected to go to the AIS and went on to play in the National League and represent Australia at U/17 and U/21 level.
Various trophies were won between 1986 and 1993 including four Summer Cups (preseason cups) and four Cadbury Trophies (end of season cups).
The next State title came in 1993 when we finished fourth. A final four was held that year to decide the state champion and we beat Devonport City 2-1 in the final.
In 1997 our name changed following a directive from the then named Soccer Australia that all clubs in Australia with an ethnic name had to change, so we became the Hobart Zebras, Zebras being the emblem of the famous Juventus in Italy. This caused a stir Australia wide with the older original founders and supporters of clubs but it was something that had to be done.
The following years produced a couple of Summer Cups, a Charity Cup, four end of season Trophies and another southern title in 2004 under the guidance of Coach Franco Previdi.