Soccer for All
The City of Brimbank’s population is young and culturally diverse, with 43% of the community born in another country and more than a third being under the age of 24. Soccer has been shown to unite these communities in a remarkable way.
Community Soccer Hub
Soccer for All
Jan 2018 - Dec 2019
The Community Soccer Hub Inc. aims to provide a welcoming place for new and emerging communities to play soccer and connect with each other.
In Nelson Mandela’s words, “Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire, it has the power to unite people in a way that little else does. It speaks to youth in a language they understand.”
With such a diverse population, it’s important for the Brimbank City Council to consider the complexities of migration and resettlement in a new country, complexities that extend to language differences, discrimination and racism.
In 2014, after working in partnership with key community stakeholders and groups, the council developed the Community Soccer Hub (the Hub).
It was an initiative they hoped would encourage young people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to become involved in sport, an activity that holds a powerful place in Australian culture, particularly in Melbourne.
The council focused on soccer, or ‘football’, because of its popularity among newly arrived populations who want to begin or continue their football journey.2
The Hub experienced huge success, largely due to community leaders garnering broad support from diverse cultural groups who leveraged the program to upskill in coaching, mentoring, governance and advocacy.3
The Hub’s rapid growth required more resourcing; while there’s high demand for soccer in the area, playing at the local level is expensive.
With support from the LUCRF Super Community Program, the Hub has grown its capacity and is continuing to provide the welcoming, inclusive space and materials needed for Brimbank residents to meet, connect and enjoy social and competitive opportunities, playing a sport that they love.
The key focus areas of the Soccer for All project were:
- building community capacity through engagement and upskilling of volunteers
- reducing barriers to participation
- fostering community connectedness.
LUCRF Super Community Program has been a huge supporter of the Community Soccer Hub for the last two years, without their support I don’t think we would have been able to grow the Community Soccer Hub, in the way in which it has grown.
Some of the highlights of the project were:
- Successfully developed and implemented a volunteer framework to encourage civic engagement within the community.
- The Hub has delivered two Summer 7s leagues. The programs ran over a 14-week period and engaged over 200 young people. Five young people were mentored in a leadership capacity to deliver and coordinate the program.
- They also developed and implemented the Communities League competition with support from social and cultural groups accessing the Hub.
- Young people are trained and supported to undertake coaching. During the project period, nineteen coaches successfully completed a Game Training Certificate, a coaching course and twelve completed the Green Shirt Referee Course. Both courses were facilitated by Football Victoria. This will provide casual employment opportunities for participants.
- The Hub also delivered a Future Leaders workshop to engage current, new and potential members and to encourage volunteering at the Hub. Up to 25 young people attended the workshop and participated in a range of activities designed to encourage volunteering and sharing ideas about new programs.
Player to coach
Chris has been a player at the Hub for more than two years. He’s now shifted his focus to coaching as he’s had an interest in this area for some time. The Juniors Program Officer worked with Chris to identify his long-term goals and determine how the Hub could help him achieve them.
Chris became coach for the U10s and leads training sessions every Thursday as well as game-day activities. He’s also being mentored and coached by Tyrone James, a former English Premier League player and now academy coach, on aspects of technical coaching, player development and other foundational skills.
Reports received from parents and committee members are that Chris has done a superb job in maintaining a fun and engaging learning environment for the kids.
We wish the Community Soccer Hub further success as they continue to facilitate this valued community activity.
2 Nathan, S., Bunde-Birouste, A., Evers, C., Kemp, L., MacKenzie, J., & Henley, R. (2010). Social cohesion through football: A quasi-experimental mixed methods design to evaluate a complex health promotion program. Public Health, 10, 587-599.
3 Centre for Multicultural Youth. (2010). Giving communities a sporting chance: A multicultural resource kit. Melbourne: CMY.