Beachlands Maraetai Association Football Club (BMAFC) was formed in 1984 under President Steve Dunne and fielded three junior teams in its first season in the Auckland Junior Football Association leagues. Interestingly, the AJFA did not allow girls to play until the following year, and then only in teams up to Under 12s. The Club grew by a team a year for the first five years and produced their first Auckland representative player in 1989, Callum Winton, in Under 12 grade. Although there was sufficient support for a social team in the early years, the first senior team was not registered until 1992. This team was coached and captained by ex-All White and former local police officer Marty Felton.
Over the years administrative changes saw the Club move to play in the Franklin JFA and then, with the restructuring of the governing body and national leagues, under the broader umbrella of the Soccer2 Federation (renamed Auckland Football Federation in 2008) covering Auckland and Manukau.
The strength of the club waxed and waned in the early years. From nine teams at its peak - spread over midgets, Under 10 to Under 17 and seniors. The Club changed to field only junior teams from Under 6 to Under 13, with a maximum of one team per grade for a number of years. In 2003 the Club experienced a sudden and unexpected increase in junior players, leaping from 89 players in eight teams in 2002 to 179 players in 23 teams in 2003. It was a challenge to equip all the teams and find playing fields and coaches for them all. However, the club has continued to grow since, including the rebirth of the senior arm of the Club and the introduction on an internally run 'MiniLeague' for players under 6 - a league which has maintained numbers of around 45 - 50 children since 2006.
BMAFC became officially affiliated to Te Puru Community Centre in its inaugural year of operation in 2005. BMAFC has been a strong supporter of the Te Puru Community Centre concept and continue to work closely with General Manager Rosalind Stewart regarding the future sustainability of football in our community.
The opening of Te Puru Community Centre, and continual development of the facilities and grounds, has proved a timely community development for the Club. The reappearance of the senior team in 2005 was largely due to the efforts of the Club President, Mark Bignell (a former BMAFC junior and Counties Manukau representative in 1996 and 1997), who coached and captained the side, as well as continuing to coach a junior team. The success of their first season, which saw the team win the Division 7 championship in a nail-biting end to the season) and the Te Puru home-base led to a rapid growth in senior numbers. The club now fields teams in the Over 35s divisions and also a Senior Women's team.
It is worth noting the history of the Senior 'Rangers' team of 2009, the core of which has remained together since 6th grade, under coach and long time committee member and former Club President Henri Habraken. Their best result was in 2003 when they won Division 2 and were promoted to Division 1 the following year.
By Nikki Ferigo for 'The Magic of Maraetai'