ATSI Program in Central Australia

Last week, Adelaide United FC's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Program in Central Australia commenced at the sites of Yuendumu and Tangentyer.

Last week, Adelaide United FC's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) Program in Central Australia commenced at the sites of Yuendumu and Tangentyer.

This project, Project One, is part of a three project ATSI Program that focuses on engaging boys and girls in football (soccer). The program targets 6 to 13 year olds and participant's attendance at school is a compulsory requirement of the program. The advantage of being a football program, it allows both females and males to participate with no gender bias involved.

The 10-week program will conclude with thirty Year 8/9 students, both male and female, being selected for the inaugural camp in Alice Springs. This camp will be held in conjunction with Adelaide United and Melbourne Heart playing an exhibition game at ANZAC Park on Saturday 23 August 2014.

The thirty selected participants will be nominated by their schools, sporting bodies or community groups, who will be based on school attendance and good social behaviors. They will play a curtain raiser prior to the exhibition game as well as being involved in a leadership camp with special presenters and AUFC players.

Adelaide United FC is working with its partners; the Northern Territory Government, FICA, FFA and FFNT to ensure this program addresses its community responsibilities as well as introducing the great sport of football. The long term goals for the participants are sound education, positive social behaviors and long term meaningful employment.

The ATSI Program officially commenced in Yuendumu, where a football session was undertaken on a softball pitch within the community. When the session started only 6 children were present, but as the session continued the engagement of the local children was unbelievable. By the time the session had finished, two hours after it started, there were over 50 children playing a game of football together. The engagement and willingness to learn was overwhelming, with hopefully some future Australian stars showing their wares. AUFC also had meetings with the local school, PM&C Representatives and the Walpiri Youth Development Aboriginal Corporation who will all be integral in the success of the program.

The following day, AUFC were working with the Tangentyere Familiy and Youth Services INC undertaking an after school clinic for all their children. The session was really well received, with Tangentyere looking to incorporate football as their Friday sport going forward.

AUFC-s local Development Officer will work closely with all the sites of the project and visit regularly, while the remaining management team will be in Alice Springs regularly every fortnight for the duration of the project.

For further information regarding this program and the Club-s involvement in Central Australia, please contact either Glenn Elliott at: glenn.elliott@aufc.com.au or James Moore at: james.moore@aufc.com.au