Football Australia set to honour Socceroos 100th anniversary

Socceroos centenary

Football Australia will celebrate the Centenary of the Australian men’s national team on June 17 of this year.

The date marks the 100th anniversary of the Socceroos’ first ever match when a team coached by Alf Morgan – and captained by Alex Gibb – took on New Zealand in Dunedin.

Players from New South Wales and Queensland were chosen for the tour which consisted of 14 games, including three ‘Tests’ against New Zealand. New Zealand won the first game of the series 3-1, with the history books highlighting that William Maunder became the first man to score for Australia when he found the back of the net shortly before half time.

Throughout the remainder of 2022, Football Australia will be acknowledging this significant milestone in Australian sport with a program of activities, events, and initiatives, including the possibility of hosting a celebratory match featuring the Socceroos and New Zealand’s All Whites later in the year.

“The Socceroos are arguably Australia’s most identifiable and popular national sporting team, both at home and abroad, uniting the nation like no other sporting team,” Football Australia Chief Executive Officer James Johnson said in a statement.

“2022 marks the Centenary year of the Australian men’s national team, and since formation, the Socceroos have embodied the spirit of Australia, a local team forged through hard times and adversity, always punching above their weight on the global stage who pull on the green and gold jersey with great pride and a steely sense of responsibility.

“Throughout 2022, Football Australia will pay homage to the players and personalities involved in the Australian men’s national team over the past one hundred years through a series of initiatives, including the unveiling of the Socceroos’ Team of the Century.

“The Socceroos are Australia’s team, and we hope that the Australian football family and supporters alike join Football Australia in celebrating the rich history of the Australian men’s national team during this special Centenary year.”

The first item to be unveiled as part of the program of activities is a coffee-table book titled, “Socceroos: 100 Years of Camaraderie and Courage”, curated by Are Media Books in connection with Football Australia.

Football Australia’s and the Socceroos’ websites and social media channels will also pay tribute to both past and present Socceroos, with an ongoing series of digital and written interviews and features, podcasts, galleries, and interactive experiences to be shared throughout the year.

Football Australia celebrates diversity for Harmony Week

Football Australia have directed the spotlight towards the nation’s diversity, celebrating Australia’s rich plethora of communities throughout the 2024 edition of Harmony Week.

Funded and endorsed by the Australian Sports Commission, the aim of the event is to build a connection with culturally and linguistically diverse newly arrived migrants, ranging between the ages of 5 to 18, through the sport of football.

The week showcased the importance of respect, inclusiveness and sense of belonging amongst everyone.

Victoria were the state in particular whom relished the harmony week on a football front. Three respective diverse communities across Manor Lakes, Croydon and Dandenong were involved in the celebration of diverse culture.

Those Melbournian suburbs include Asian, African and Middle Eastern communities in whom recently arrived to Australia as migrants. Given that football is the primary sport across each of those country’s, members of those experiencing life in Australia for the first time were able to be involved in something which reminds them of home.

Members of those communities had the chance to be involved within football related activities allowing them to showcase their flair and ability.

Those in whom had previously participated within the sport had the opportunity to participate in more advanced activities, while beginners were offered to participate in clinics while being provided information about Miniroos programs.

The events also allowed for new or existing players to seek the possibility of participating at a club level, junior or senior at clubs within close proximity of the suburbs listed.

Dandenong Primary School Teacher, Leanne Skaftouros talked about there being no barrier when playing football.

“There is no barrier, no language barrier. It doesn’t matter if I don’t know your language, you don’t know my language, we can get out and play a game of soccer, which is just amazing,” she said via press release.

Endeavour Youth Australia CEO Mohammad Semra mentioned the importance of community involvement for migrants through the sport of football.

“It gives young people access to club football and also different opportunities to succeed,” he said via press release.

The community event was a collaborative effort, the Wyndham Council alongside Endeavour Youth and migrant information centre were the primary pillars called upon to make the event a success.

FA understand the significance of establishing connections amongst new members of a community, that is the brilliance of Football. The globalisation of the sport allows for these inclusive events to occur. It’s an aspect of Australian culture in which can bring an abundance of people together, all while unifying and inspiring them along the journey.

Federal government commit $250 million to upgrade AIS facilities

The federal government confirm they are committing $250 million to upgrade the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) ahead of the 2032 Brisbane Olympics.

The funding will be put towards building a new high-performance training and testing centre, a multi-sport indoor dome, and an accommodation facility.

An independent review of the institute’s infrastructure found that in February, the AIS should stay in Canberra but needs a significant upgrade ahead of the games.

As a football outlook, the facilities don’t seem to help the development of young or professional footballers at all.

After the ‘FFA Centre of Excellence’ was discontinued in 2017, the AIS haven’t put a lot of focus into football and have left development purely up to Football Australia and the state federations.

The AIS upgrades in Canberra are seemingly leaving out football and the $250m is being spent on a purely Olympic outlook including athletics and swimming, in order to try and maximise the amount of gold medals Australia wins.

With the popularity of The Matildas rapidly growing with eight years before the Brisbane Olympics, the government should really be focusing on what they can do for football.

Federal Sports Minister Anika Wells discussed the government’s commitment to revitalise the AIS as a “world-standard facility.”

“When it was first built, the AIS was so successful in preparing our medal winning athletes that it was replicated by sporting nations around the world and became the benchmark for achieving athletic success,” she said in an statement.

“Today, our government is investing in the AIS, so we reach those benchmarks again as we commit to delivering world standard training facilities ahead of the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese commented on the importance of these upgrades for the country.

“We want to give our athletes the best chance of bringing home gold at Brisbane and every competition before and after those games,” he added in an statement.

“The upcoming budget will ensure the AIS remains in the capital, where it belongs, and ensure it once again becomes the world-leading high-performance centre it was designed to be.”

The AIS upgrades are fantastic for the country’s top athletes and the much needed improvements set the country up well for 2032, but the question lies, what are they doing for football?

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