Hamilton Croatia had the humble beginning of starting as a single amateur soccer team in 1957. Presently it is supported by the Croatian Sports and Community Centre of Hamilton Inc. (formerly the Croatian National Sports Club of Hamilton, Inc.). The club was not only established to promote soccer but also the Croatian culture and national identity.
From the onset, Hamilton Croatia was a local soccer power. In their first season in the Southern Ontario Soccer League, they were League Champions. In 1963 and 1965 they were the powerful Inter City Soccer League Champions and Ontario Cup finalists. Croatia was the Hamilton Spectator Cup champions in 1964 and 1965. They entered the professional National Soccer League in 1970 and immediately finishing runners-up and won the League Cup. As members of the Hamilton & District Soccer League (H&DSL) they won Championships and League Cups too many to list. There were Hamilton Spectator Cups wins in 2004, 2005 and 2007, as well as Ontario Cup runner-up that year.
There were many more successes along the way such as the Croatian National Soccer Federation of Canada and USA, a huge Croatian tournament they also proudly hosted and were leaders in founding. Throughout its history Hamilton Croatia hosted international friendly matches with Croatian club teams such as 1967 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup winners Dinamo Zagreb, NK Medjugorje, NK Croatia Brihovo, NK Vukovar ’91, NK Karlovac, HSK Zrinjski Mostar, and Vasas Budapest SC, one of Hungary’s major sports clubs.
Some notable players to have worn a Hamilton Croatia jersey were Zeljko Adzic, Slavko Cetina, Vlado Crnjak, Berislav Krilic, Stjepan Loparic, Vlado Palijan, Ivica Tankovic, Nediljko Simic, Josip Dundovic, Guido Marchioli, Ante Kosta and Tom Bondarenko. There was also the 1976 Canadian Olympians Kevin Grant, Olympic team captain Jimmy Douglas, Jimmy Sinclair of Buffalo Stallions, and former United Soccer Leagues First Division All-Star Jamie Dodds.
In 2010, Hamilton Croatia was selected as one of the newly expansion franchise of the Canadian Soccer League. Croatia, led by Coach of the Year Ron Davidson, finishing third and were playoff finalists after beating archrival Toronto Croatia 2-0 in the semifinal.
From its humble beginning, the club has expanded into a flourishing senior, youth, boys, girls, women, and oldtimers soccer programs of 17 teams, plus a House League. Other sports, educational, senior, and recreational programs were added along the way to make Hamilton Croatia an all encompassing club. Soccer, the subject of this induction into the Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame, still very much remains the focus of the club. The Hamilton Soccer Hall of Fame salutes Hamilton Croatia and wishes them continued success.