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Kicking Goals for Equal Rights

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Media release

A unique football program is scoring a number of goals in promoting education, leadership skills, social justice and inclusion for youth, including young migrants.

The Football United program, in partnership with the University of South Australia and the Port Adelaide-Enfield Council’s Street Sports Program, will be launched on 22nd May 2013 at Windsor Gardens Vocational College. Equal Opportunity Commissioner Anne Gale will make a short speech and have the honour of kicking the first goal, a tradition at the Football United season launches.

The Commissioner said the program isn’t just about playing football. “Football United provides the opportunity for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds, who are refugees or new arrivals, to come together and play football, commonly referred to as soccer,” the Commissioner said.

“The program, however, is about so much more than sport. It works with communities with high proportions of migrants, indigenous populations and young children who have come here as refugees with their families.

Racism is a very real issue for some South Australians; we are working with the University of South Australia through the Football United program to support this exciting initiative. We have developed a short workshop that will be delivered through the program to raise awareness of rights and equal opportunity among the participants,” said the Commissioner.

UniSA’s Dr Edoardo Rosso, Football United’s program manager in South Australia, said the initiative was developed with the aim of bringing communities together. 

“The Football United program was developed at the University of New South Wales seeking to promote cohesive communities through one of the world’s most popular sports and we have been running it very successfully in South Australia” Dr Rosso said.

“This is social inclusion at work. We’re offering opportunities for young people to come  together and play football for free, but also receive mentorship and coaching from support staff, many of whom are also new arrivals or refugees.

We are in the midst of training a new group of keen volunteers who are excited to start their journey with Football United and working with the participants.”

Sporting ambassadors A-League star Iain Ramsay and former international and Socceroo star Josip Skoko will serve as inspiration to a new generation of young players, as well as a number of talented coaches and coordinators.

“Last year, we had approximately 300 participants between the ages of 5 and 17 years. They came from a range of cultural backgrounds including Aboriginal, African, Asian, Middle Eastern, South American and European.

Nearly half were refugees and approximately 40% were females. We ran programs in the City of Playford, Port-Adelaide-Enfield, Salisbury, West Torrens and Mount Gambier, and this year we will be again present in all these areas.

The program is growing and there is a lot of enthusiasm around it.” Dr Rosso said.

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