Melbourne City Football Club is kicking goals in 2017, with its I Speak Football program up and running for another year.
Located in the City of Yarra, young football fans aged 14 – 17 from across the state are invited to participate in the 25-week program to sharpen up their skills and put their talent on display.
The Centre of Multicultural Youth founded the program in 2015, and after two years have handed it over to Melbourne City FC to run as part of its Citizen’s Giving Program.
Head of Community at Melbourne City FC, Sue Crow, believes the program is in its best shape yet.
“The Citizen’s Giving Program is featured across the City franchises in Manchester, New York and Melbourne,” she said.
“Fans vote for the programs they want to be a part of and they receive funding to run.”
The program emphasises social inclusion and bringing kids together to enjoy the global language of football. It also aims to help them build a stronger connection within the community.
Mentoring participants through I Speak Football are third-year members of the Yarra Pathways Program.
Launched in 2015, the Yarra Pathways Program connects young talented football players aged 18 – 25 with clubs such as I Speak Football. The program sees the players developing leadership skills and confidence, and provides alternative pathways into football careers, such as coaching.
With the aim of developing leaders for the future, the student mentors are given free reign over the activities and structure of I Speak Football.
“These young leaders have developed the [I Speak Football] program, and they’re delivering what they’ve written … it’s practically their program and we’re [Melbourne City FC] there to monitor it,” Ms Crow said.
While the program has only just begun for 2017, Melbourne City FC has high hopes for its growth throughout the year.
As word spreads through the community, I Speak Football leaders are looking forward to welcoming new participants.
“I expect as the word gets around, more kids will come,” Ms Crow said.
Head to the website here for more information about I Speak Football or They Yarra Pathways Program.
Written by Marnie Cohen