Croatians in the Southern California

No matter where in the world they would immigrate to, it’s known fact that the Croats would immediately establish churches, cultural and sports clubs; following their traditions and heritage.  A unique case was a small town in southern California – San Pedro. Croats from the Dalmatian islands settled there in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They and their descendants influenced by Yugoslavia were more less Yugoslav-oriented. According to some information, about 30,000 Croats and their descendants, mostly called “Slavs and Yugoslavs,” lived there.

San Pedro Croat Club – Established in 1967

Despite a strong influence of Yugoslavia, in the 1950s, less than a hundred Croats openly declared themselves Croats and founded the “Croatian American Club” in San Pedro. At the suggestion of the brothers Bozo and Ive Deranja, they founded the Croat football club in 1967.

First President: Ante Huljev
First Secretary: Ivica Vilicic
First coach: Ivo Deranja
First Manager: Bozo Deranja

San Pedro Croat Soccer Club - 1967

Early Days Supporters

The most prominent supporters from the first days are: Ivo Labar, Josip Mardesic, Milan Dominis, Vinko Mardesic, Tom Nell, Vlatko Kolega, Toni Blazevic, Mirko Murat, Josip Murat, Vinko Maric, Ivo Knezevic, Ivan Zivkovic, Vlado Lonza, Vlado Huljev, Martin Balov, Budimir Matek, Vlado Jelanic, Mario Juravic, and many other Croatians of San Pedro who morally and materially supported San Pedro Croat Club.

1968/1969

The club wins first place in the second league and the club is led by Bozo Deranja, Tom Nell, Ivo Labar and Toni Blazevic.

1970

The club plays a friendly against the American Olympic Team. At that time the club was run by Toni Marciolli, Toni Blazevic, Miljenko Gotovac and Valentino Hrboka.

1970 to 1973

The club wins one first and two second places in the first league of the city of Los Angeles.

1975

The club wins first place without defeat, led by Valentino Hrboka and Miljenko Gotovac.

9 USA National Players & 14 National Players for other countries

Due to the Croat’s reputation and success, especially after 1983, the club management attracted the enormous talent and now renowned world class players.

Besides Croatian Ante Razov, SP Croat is proud to have other eight US National team playing for the club: Cobi Jones, Paul Krampe, Eddie Lewis, Martin Vasquez, Michael Collins, Steve Singleman, Joey Kirk and David Vanole. In addition, 14 other players played for national selections of their countries.

In 1983 Stanko Bilaver stopped playing football because of a serious injury and became a coach / manager. Under his management, San Pedro Croat becomes one of the most successful and famous clubs in California.

Led by Stanko Bilaver, SP Croat wins:

1986, 1987

Budweiser Cup

1988, 1989, 1990

First Place GLASL

1988, 1989, 1990, 2011, 2015

California Cup

As the Champion of California, Croat plays in a tournament in Mexico. During this period Croat plays a large number of matches against clubs from South America.

1993

Croat hosted the NK Zadar team. In the friendly match Zadar won 2: 1.

1996

Croat hosted NK Croatia Dinamo Zagreb. In that match Croatia Dinamo Zagreb won 5-1.

1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1998

Golden West League 1st Place

2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019

Los Angeles Municipal Super League – First Place