With free participation opportunities limited for our newly-arrived young Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Victorians to showcase their love of the world game and join local clubs, the Victorian Government has teamed up with Victoria’s elite A-League team, Melbourne Victory, to encourage more people to get playing.
The Our Game Our Community initiatives continue to roll out programs that provide pathways in to the sport, especially in areas where the cost of playing football can be a major barrier, or playing the sport can be difficult because of family and cultural reasons.
From Brimbank to the Latrobe Valley, the program has provided some fantastic pathways into club football, refereeing, and state competition.
At St Albans Secondary College and Catholic Regional College, young students from African backgrounds were recently given the opportunity to fine tune their football skills with Victory stars at nearby Errington Community Centre.
Melbourne Victory coaches and players of African heritage including Thomas Deng, Kenny Athiu and Majak Mawith have been on hand to teach and inspire these future champions, culminating with the team going to Ballarat to participate in the State Futsal competition.
Star Melbourne Victory defender Thomas Deng said “Sport was the key to me making good decisions and I hope that this will be the same outcome for these young boys. The community needs good leaders and role models for the new generation and this program will allow for the youth to have a voice and shape the future.”
The Victorian Government is proud to kick in for football on and off the pitch, investing:
- $17.2 million into more than 70 Community Sports Infrastructure projects that support grassroots football, including $2 million from the Asian Cup Legacy Fund
- An additional $2.5 million to The World Game Facilities Fund, dedicated to grassroots football club infrastructure projects ,
- $125,000 to help FFV boost the number of women and girls playing football
- $600,000 ‘Welcome to Football’ program
- $10 million to build the Melbourne Victory Football Academy in Footscray Park.
As programs like the Our Game Our Community highlight, given the opportunity, sport can open doors and provide pathways that can make a real difference to people’s lives.