Stanko Milin remembers the struggles and the fights.
He had fled the Yugoslavian border with his family as a young boy, staying at a camp in Italy before arriving in Australia.
But another battle was waiting for him in Canberra, where he became one of the founding members of the Canberra Croatia soccer club and a member of its inaugural team in 1958.
"We tried to say from the beginning that we were Croatians, not what they called us, 'Slavs'," Milin said.
"That's why when they called us that, we got offended and sometimes fights would happen, so it wasn't easy but eventually the outcome was good.
"We started with 27 people with players, the committee, everyone.
"The Croatian committee was very small here while today it's one of the biggest in Canberra. So as the community grew, the club grew.
"When we started we had nothing, but now we have this which is something we can be proud of."
He says so as he points to the stands at Deakin Stadium, which fans will fill for Canberra Croatia's Capital Football Premier League clash with Tuggeranong United on Sunday.
The clash comes on a landmark day for the club as Canberra Croatia celebrates its name change after almost a year-long wait.
The abolishment of the FFA's National Club Identity Policy in 2019 saw Canberra FC rebranded to Canberra Croatia, but COVID-19 restrictions kept the club from holding mass celebrations to mark the moment last year.
The policy enacted in 1990 disallowed teams from using national, ethnic, or political connotations in their club names.
A club vote shortly after the FFA overturned the policy resulted in an overwhelming consensus to return to their roots.
Celebrations on Sunday will feature Croatian folkloric dancers, an address from the representatives of the Embassy of the Republic of Croatia, and New Zealand-based Samoan live band 'Klapa Somoana' who will sing traditional Croatian songs.
Club secretary Danny Spelic says he is thrilled that Canberra Croatia are now representing their heritage once more.
"It's a symbolic name for many of us because it represents a whole lot more than just the name of the soccer club," Spelic said.
"It's a name that represents an identity back then and a struggle for independence and we feel it's our duty as the younger generation in the club to now bring that name back for our older generation that are now in their twilight years."
For 90 minutes Canberra Croatia captain Mathew Grbesa and his teammates will take centre stage in the hope they can eventually replicate last season's premiership-championship double.
"We are definitely looking to replicate what happened last year, obviously it is a longer season this year with 21 games instead of the 11, but we are definitely looking to go undefeated," Grbesa said.
"We've got a few young kids coming through that are looking to further their game.
"They are doing extremely well, they're training with us week in week out and getting game time on the weekend too.
"Being one of the older players it's good to see that the club has a bright future.
"At the end of the day, I think the captain band is just a band on the arm that gives you the ability to speak to the ref.
"We've got a squad full of leaders and we've got a lot of players that are well experienced.
"So just I'm fortunate enough to have been selected to wear it, other than that it doesn't change much else."
Canberra Olympic host Belconnen United at O'Connor while Monaro Panthers host West Canberra Wanderers at Riverside Stadium to open the round on Saturday.