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Football as Therapy for Kids with Autism

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Football as therapy for kids with Autism by Sporting Network for Autistic People and Parents (SNAPP) was created by Allison & Kris Gately when they saw the need for this program as their son Bruin was diagnosed with Autism.

The Early intervention for autistic children is very intense and we knew that sports covered so much of the therapies we were doing all in one activity.  As well as the added benefit of social play with kids his age.  We tried Miniroos, and he was just not capable of following the coach’s directions. Autism can be incredibly isolating as a parent and it broke our heart to watch our boy struggle, and then have to explain our differences to other parents on the sidelines.  We just wanted a place for our son to be with kids like him… and a place that parents like us could feel at ease and in no need for explanation. – Allison

Neuro diversity and Autism cover the broadest range of abilities and challenges. These struggles can include but not limited to anxiety-based, sensory based, auditory processing, non-verbal, verbal and physical. Whilst most of the kids in SNAPP are enrolled in Mainstream Primary Schools, this does not mean they feel comfortable in a mainstream football program or even an All Abilities football program. With this in mind, Kris and Allison created SNAPP.

Sporting Network for Autistic People and Parents (SNAPP) was created by Allison & Kris Gately when they saw the need for this program as their son Bruin was diagnosed with Autism.

The Early intervention for autistic children is very intense and we knew that sports covered so much of the therapies we were doing all in one activity.  As well as the added benefit of social play with kids his age.  We tried Miniroos, and he was just not capable of following the coach’s directions. Autism can be incredibly isolating as a parent and it broke our heart to watch our boy struggle, and then have to explain our differences to other parents on the sidelines.  We just wanted a place for our son to be with kids like him… and a place that parents like us could feel at ease and in no need for explanation. – Allison

Neuro diversity and Autism cover the broadest range of abilities and challenges. These struggles can include but not limited to anxiety-based, sensory based, auditory processing, non-verbal, verbal and physical. Whilst most of the kids in SNAPP are enrolled in Mainstream Primary Schools, this does not mean they feel comfortable in a mainstream football program or even an All Abilities football program. With this in mind, Kris and Allison created SNAPP.

This year, SNAPP will launch their 3rd program out in the west of Melbourne. The programs in Williamstown, Wyndham & Geelong are slightly different, catering to different needs. Once the football season ends, SNAPP continues with Cricket, Gymnastics and a swimming program with Life Saving Victoria.

Jason Charles, Executive Manager – Clubs & Community at Football Victoria, is pleased that “FV supports Kris and Allison with their SNAPP football programs and to see the positive impact they are having in their community through sport.”

For more information, please visit their website: www.snapp.org.au or follow them on Facebook: www.facebook.com/SNAPPSports

If you’re interested to join or want to help out, please contact Allison Gately on 0400 810 088 or allison@snapp.org.au

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Player sentiment up, average age down: PFA releases annual report

Sentiment is well and truly up for A-League players, according to the annual Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) report.

This time last year, only 33% of A-League players felt confident about the direction of their football careers.

According to the PFA’s latest annual report, that number is now 56%.

Of the A-League’s 312 players, 200 responded to the 2020/21 A-League survey, capturing 70% of the current cohort, with the results proving that even despite the ongoing turbulence and uncertainty of COVID-19, the majority of players feel much more confident about their futures within the game.

The report highlights that Australian players actively want to remain in the A-League, as opposed to seeking opportunities overseas.

The key numbers that demonstrate this include:

  • 55% of players said they would like to stay playing in the A-League next season, up from 45% last year.
  • 56% of players are confident about the direction of their football careers, compared to 33% in 2019/20.
  • Only 4% of players would move to an overseas league even if it was for similar money and/or playing standard.
  • Only 16% of players who would prefer to move to an overseas league would only do so if the money and standards were better.

Other highlights of the report include that the average A-League player is getting younger.

Over the last 14 years, the average age of the A-League player has consistently trended upwards.

In 2020/21, however, this changed and the average age trended downwards, dropping from 27.6 to 25.1.

The number of players utilised in the A-League who were aged 21 and under came in at 107, representing 35% of the 300 players who received A-League minutes during the 2020/21 season.

The youngest squads on average belonged to Central Coast Mariners and Adelaide United, with average ages of 23.6 and 23.9 years respectively.

Another highlight was the fact that of the league’s 312 contracted players, 300 received A-League minutes.

“These reports have been immensely valuable, helping the PFA and the players better understand the industry in which they are employed, monitor the application of high-performance standards, assess technical progress and survey the players’ experience,” PFA Co-Chief Executive Beau Busch said of the report.

“For the last five years, we have been able to utilise these reports to formulate evidence-based positions to improve the environments in which our members work through collective bargaining.

“Promisingly, after a period of significant uncertainty, the players have indicated that they are more confident in the direction of their careers and the future of the competition than this time last year, signifying a positive shift in the perception of the A-League.”

The report also highlights the fact that A-League attendances were the lowest ever in the competition, thanks in large part to COVID-19, with an average attendance of 5,660.

Foreign players in the league reduced by 12 to a total of 51, whilst the average salary in the A-League is $136,791.

Access the full report HERE.

DFL and AWS introduce two new Match Facts to Bundesliga coverage

Bundesliga analysis

The Deutsche Fußball Liga (DFL) and Amazon Web Services (AWS) have announced the addition of two new Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS that will premiere as graphics during broadcasts and in the official Bundesliga app during the 2021-2022 season.

The two new Match Facts – Shot Efficiency and Passing Profile – will bring the total number of advanced statistics to eight, with each of them aiming to give fans deeper insights into the action on the pitch.

The first of the new advanced stats – Shot Efficiency – compares the number of goals that a player or team has scored with how many goals the player or team should have scored based on the quality of their chances.

The second – Passing Profile – provides deeper insights into the pass quality of a player or an entire team. Both of the stats are generated by gathering and analysing the match feeds from live games in real time as they are streamed into AWS.

Both new stats made their debut during Matchday 4 on the clash between German Champion FC Bayern München and the second-placed team of the previous season RB Leipzig.

The two new Match Facts will better showcase the action on the field – giving fans, coaches, players, and commentators visual support for analysing the decision-making of players and teams.

Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President of Digital Innovations for DFL Group, was excited to further innovate the matchday experience for viewers based both domestically and internationally.

“Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS allows us to give fans more insight into the game of football, broadcasters more interesting stories to tell and coaches and teams, more data to excel at their game,” he said.

“Last year, the reception for Bundesliga Match Facts around the world was very positive, and we expect through ML and AI to continue to innovate on these analytics to make them even better.

“These two new stats give fans a view into player efficiency that hasn’t been achieved before, and we are just at the beginning of our relationship with AWS. I’m excited to see how technology will continue to evolve the fan experience and the game.”

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