Midland will play a key role in Football West’s new Aboriginal Community Soccer Program, which aims to promote sports participation, healthy lifestyles and potential soccer careers.

The program was launched this week at the Swan Italian Sporting Club, with a three-year, $750,000 funding commitment by the Morrison Government.

“Working with Football West, we will now children and young people being given an incredible opportunity to be part of an exciting sport, an international sport, a sport in which they can excel,” said Indigenous Health Minister and Member for Hasluck Ken Wyatt AM.

“There is great sporting prowess and I think we have the capability within our Aboriginal kids to see a Ronaldo emerge out of those communities.

“This is an exciting development with major potential because promoting a positive and active lifestyle is a key to better health and wellbeing.

“While playing soccer is lots of fun, the program is community based and will also focus on healthy choices including reducing alcohol, tobacco and drug use and improving mental health. 

“Football West will work with each of the communities to design culturally appropriate football activities.”

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people of all age groups in Swan, Baldivis, Broome, Kununurra, Wyndham, Derby, Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek, Roebourne and Karratha will benefit from the program. 

Two full-time Aboriginal Development Officers will be employed to deliver the program, assisted by existing metropolitan and regional development officers.

Football West CEO James Curtis said: “Football West is proud to be supporting the local Aboriginal community groups to deliver soccer programs, including street soccer and futsal. The 40 small-sided soccer programs across 10 locations will be delivered to the whole community, including children, adults and elders.

“We are excited to be working with the local community to co-design and deliver programs that will ensure every member of the community can get involved.

“Our aim is that all community members across Western Australia have access to programs that deliver positive health and community outcomes, and this program is another big step forward in achieving the outcome.

“We want to make sure that Indigenous kids across Western Australia really are part of the game, and we want to see it from the grassroots participation, having fun, positive community outcomes. But we do ultimately want to see them on the international stage representing Western Australia and Australia.”

Minister Wyatt added: “It is encouraging to see a whole-of-community approach that targets entire families and seeks to grow partnerships with local health organisations and other community groups.

“I have confidence in Football West’s plans because I have seen the impact of community based soccer in the Northern Territory, where the John Moriarty Football program has achieved significant success.

“While we may see some young soccer champions emerge from the Football West program, I believe local communities will be winners, regardless”

The Morrison Government is committed to working with families, communities, health care organisations and all levels of government to improve the health and wellbeing of First Australians.

The Football West Aboriginal soccer program is being funded from the Indigenous Australians’ Health Program.

The Morrison Government has committed $3.9 billion to improve the health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people over the next four years.