Community wellness and outreach a priority for Sounders FC

Sounders FC

Providence, a not-for-profit health system serving the Western United States, has joined forces with the Sounders Football Club, Seattle’s Major League Soccer franchise.

This collaboration has brought together two forward-thinking, community-oriented companies that believe in having a deliberate, meaningful impact on the area of youth mental health and wellness.

The community of Renton is home to the Sounders FC Centre, Seattle Sounders FC’s new state-of-the-art training facility set to be completed in 2024. Renton is located approximately 18 kilometres south of Seattle with a school district serving over 15,000 young people, making this partnership ever the more critical.

The union between Sounders FC and Providence was recently announced at Renton High School, one of the nine high schools located in the Renton vicinity.

Renton High School was deliberately selected to be the location of the announcement in order to highlight the introduction of a collaborative and thoughtful relationship between the two organisations and the Renton school district. Through research, it has been made aware that schools are one of the most effective forums for providing consistent and accessible behavioural health services to children and adolescents.

Working together with district leaders, Sounders FC and Providence will develop, implement, and provide support for a variety of programming and services focused on ways to improve mental health for young people.

With the big surge in mental health-related issues since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Providence and Seattle Sounders FC understand the seriousness of considering innovative ways to tackle this devastating crisis.

According to 2021 research, during the pandemic, 37 percent of high school students reported experiencing poor mental health and 44 percent reported persistently feeling sad or hopeless. This data backs up the idea that something ought to be done about creating healthier communities.

This partnership will strive to develop these communities by empowering youth, using health education, physical activity, preventative medicine and access to resources. The collaboration with the Renton school district will ensure that investments are applied where and how they are most needed.

The overall goal of the collaboration between these organisations is to address mental wellbeing for students in the Renton School District. In seeing this goal come to fruition, intentions may include:

  • Increasing access to school-based mental health services.
  • Creating educational programs designed to support awareness of mental health concerns.
  • Normalising the conversation surrounding mental health, reducing the stigma around it, and promoting resources available through Providence, the Renton School District, and other partners.
  • Implementing safe spaces for children to play.
  • Conducting sports camps that include mental wellbeing curricula.
  • Maintaining a culture within local area schools to help every child prioritise their mental wellbeing and be equipped to support their peers.

These services are ongoing and part of a long-term commitment by Sounders FC and Providence, addressing the issue of mental health amongst youth.

As part of the partnership announcement at Renton High School – students, Sounders FC players and others in attendance all took a pledge to help support mental health awareness. They encourage the community to do the same.

Also involved in this partnership are the jersey front rights for all Sounders FC home and away kits. Providence is becoming just the third jersey partner in the club’s MLS history to be showcased on the front of the players’ kits.

Additionally, physicians from Providence Swedish will serve as team doctors, working together with the club’s sports medicine staff, providing state-of-the-art care to assist players in managing acute injuries, maximising rehabilitation and training, preventing injuries and navigating general health needs.

Providence was first highlighted on the kits of the Sounders FC during the 2022 FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco, when they became the first MLS team in history to compete in the tournament.

An amenities refresher for NSW grassroots custodian

The NSW Football Legacy Program has worked in conjunction with the Bayside Council in providing $150,000 to the Bexley North Football Club (BNFC) who join the vast growing number of successful applicants of the Infrastructure Stream, which is the second round screening process.

The Football Legacy program is a $10 million investment founded by the NSW Government. The program’s intention is to continue the established growth of female football through freshly refurbished community facilities.

Furthermore, development programs, participation initiatives and potential ventures involving tourism and international engagement are all at the forefront of the overall objective the NSW government has regarding the growth of football within the state.

The $150,000 grant in which BNFC are receiving is going to be spent sparingly. Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve is in dire need of a rejuvenation, given the club’s recent rise to popular interest within the Football St George Association, BNFC experienced an astounding spike in membership.

Since the 2021 season, the club witnessed a spike in members, a 35% increase surge in overall involvement, highlighted by a 40% increase in female involvement.

The traffic that the club began to experience was a confronting yet exciting time for the community operated club. Their previous facilities could not cater for the extravagant influx of participants, hence the club opting to collaborate with the Bayside Council.

The grant successfully attained will be used to upgrade the amenities at Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve from top to bottom. The newly furbished facility has hosts a conference room, referee room, medical room, canteen, and storage area.

Further funding requested by BNFC is expected to be utilized in rejuvenating the current change rooms and bathrooms, as well as a through fixup of the established home and away locker rooms. The end goal insight, is to accommodate highly regarded women’s footballing outlets in the future.

BNFC President Eddie Yazbeck, mentioned the importance of what this grant will provide.

“We have worked closely with Bayside Council to develop a site plan for Kingsgrove Avenue Reserve and together we applied for the NSW Football Legacy Fund to help make our vision a reality,” he said via press release. 

“This grant will deliver a much-needed infrastructure upgrade, addressing concerns such as accessibility and safety, improved canteen facilities, storage for our kits, change rooms for players and referees.”

The Facilities and Grants Officer at Football NSW, James Spanoudakis, also added via media release. 

“Amenity buildings are the heart and soul of all football clubs across NSW,” he said.

The new amenities is expected to be completed towards the conclusion of 2024, ready to go for the 2025 winter season.   

Melbourne City proudly unveil their state-of-the-art-facilities

Melbourne City have proudly showcased their clubs latest project through the unveiling of their new state-of-the-art-facility, located at Casey Fields in Cranbourne.

The City Football Academy Melbourne continues to push the already established high-standards in which football across Australia are beginning to reach. The facility will host the men’s and women’s teams, as well as the club’s grassroot program, and an administration office is also involved in the newly developed location.

The Melbourne based club were inspired by their British parent and European juggernauts Manchester City have some of, if not the best facilities in world football. Melbourne City’s latest facility was developed in accordance to the structure and framework relating to Manchester City.

Within the newly furnished building, it’s features are acknowledged to stand out amongst other rival A-League entity’s. A 60-seat theatre and community classroom was installed to host club officials and guests, 16 changerooms combined with Hydrotherapy pools and two gyms, all designed to propel their playing personnel in achieving their peak athletic condition. Administration spaces where also created for Sports Science, Sports Medicine and club officials to all reside in.

The official opening took place on April 10 by City of Casey Chair of Administrators Noelene Duff PSM, and Melbourne City FC Vice Chairman Simon Pearce.

Located at the Casey Fields Sporting precinct in which is building quite the resume within the tenants it has acquired in various codes of sport across the state. The 5,900m2 facility that City now possess in their arsenal sits on eleven hectares of land, upon it they have five different football pitches, with varying surfaces.

The opportunities in which this facility presents to football fans and participants alike, are in abundance, 3,500 aspiring young football participants will be able to use the facilities on offer, with many more able to spectate City matches in which may be played at their Academy.

Melbourne City FC CEO Brad Rowse stated via press release:

“This amazing facility will be the new home to our Men’s, Women’s, Academy, and Administration teams, and will allow us to come together under the one roof to train, share ideas and challenge each other every single day.

“We’re setting new standards for football in Australia and laying the foundations for sustainable growth, on and off the pitch.”

With the latest edition of the McDonald’s City Cup being played at the newly launched facility, the tournament was a token showcasing that the clubs elite are not the only ones who will benefit from the facility but also local footballing communities in addition.

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