Football Australia’s Play Football campaign to inspire next generation

Play Football

With Australian football heading into the most significant 12 months in its history, the country’s Socceroos and Matildas stars have united to help deliver Football Australia’s Play Football campaign, in an effort to nurture future national team players.

The Subway Socceroos are set to embark on their fifth consecutive FIFA World Cup (sixth overall) when they take to the field in Qatar during November, and the CommBank Matildas are perched to take the country by storm next July and August as Australia co-hosts the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023.

Football is already the most diverse and inclusive sport in Australia, with programs and competitions catering for everyone irrespective of ability, age, gender, race, and religion.

It’s also the number one team participation sport across in Australia, with over one and a half million people enjoying the many benefits that football can deliver including camaraderie, community, friendship, and teamwork, not to mention improved physical and mental health.

With Australians set to be inspired by the feats of the world’s greatest footballers, Football Australia has launched its 2022/23 Play Football campaign, which will help connect people – young and old – with their local football team and an array of football programs and competitions.

Upon launching this Play Football campaign, Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson said in a statement:

“Already acclaimed as the largest team-based participation sport in Australia, this particular Play Football campaign presents a unique opportunity to further ignite interest in football participation in Australia, as the Subway Socceroos embark on their quest at the FIFA Men’s World Cup Qatar 2022TM and the CommBank Matildas prepare for the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023 on home soil.”

“Whether it’s as a player, coach, referee, or volunteer, football truly is a sport for all, and we look forward to seeing even more football fields and futsal courts across Australia full of people having fun and enjoying all the benefits of our great game.”

Fronting Football Australia’s Play Football campaign are current CommBank Matildas’ Sam Kerr and Ellie Carpenter plus Subway Socceroos’ Awer Mabil and Andrew Redmayne, where each has experienced their own unique journey from grassroots football to the biggest stage in world football.

In this campaign, CommBank Matildas’ captain Sam Kerr explained via press release why Australians should Play Football:

“There’s nothing quite like the fun and freedom of playing football in a team with all your friends. It’s such a special feeling, no matter where I’m playing around the world, the buzz I experience playing football with my teammates is always the same. Football has provided me with some of my best memories and friends, I would encourage everyone to find a club and experience this for themselves.”

The Socceroos 26-strong squad for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ is the most diverse ever selected, reflecting Australia’s multicultural makeup. For the first time ever, four footballers of African heritage will feature in the same Socceroos’ squad including fan favourites, Awer Mabil and Garang Kuol.

“I have been lucky that football has taken me to many parts of the world and provided me with so many opportunities. Most of all though, it has given me enjoyment. Nothing makes me as happy as playing football with my teammates. Football is a game for anyone, at any time in their life, so get out there and sign up to your local club, you will never look back!,” Mabil added via press release.

Football Australia’s Play Football marketing campaign features a 30-second television commercial, digital and social media content, out of home creative and other assets which will support the promotion of why even more Australians should Play Football in 2023 and beyond.

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Football Australia bolsters leadership with key new appointments

Football Australia has confirmed the appointments of Briana Harvey as General Manager of the Women’s National Teams and David Mason for the role of General Manager of the Men’s National Teams.

These strategic appointments are part of Football Australia’s ongoing efforts to strengthen and enhance the leadership and management of its national teams, ensuring both the women’s and men’s programs benefit from experienced and dedicated leadership.

Harvey has an extensive background in sports management, having held key roles at prominent organizations such as Hockey Victoria, the Australian Football League, Hawthorn Football Club, and, most recently, at the GWS GIANTS Football Club. Her diverse experience across these major sporting bodies highlights her expertise and leadership capabilities in the field.

Mason’s deep involvement with Australian football stretches back to 1998. Throughout his career, he has held numerous management positions in media and communications, football operations, and club administration at Northern Spirit, Parramatta Power, Sydney FC, and Football Australia.

His extensive experience across these diverse roles has equipped him with a comprehensive understanding of the sport’s landscape, making him a valuable asset in his new role.

For the last seven years, Mason has served as CEO of Manly Warringah Football Association and Manly United FC, one of Australia’s largest football associations. Returning to Football Australia, Mason brings with him a vast reservoir of knowledge in local, regional, and global football.

His experience is complemented by a deep familiarity with Australia’s National Football Teams, positioning him to make significant contributions in his new role.

Beginning on August 12, both Harvey and Mason will take charge of the strategic, operational, and administrative aspects of Football Australia’s Men’s and Women’s National Teams. Their responsibilities will include planning and managing budgets, as well as coordinating overall annual match schedules.

In their roles, they will ensure that all logistical and operational needs are met, driving the success and efficiency of the national teams’ programs.

Their leadership will be pivotal in shaping the future of Australian football on both the national and international stages.

Head of National Teams Gary Moretti expressed his excitement of the designation via press release.

“We are delighted to have secured the services of both Briana and David who as individuals and collectively bring a wealth of industry knowledge to Football Australia,” he said.

“Briana has a strong corporate pedigree with extensive experience within elite level sport. Her background and passion for women’s sport will be an invaluable asset to our National Teams both now and in the future.

“David is a football person and has contributed to the sport at all levels for almost three decades. In addition to his strong football acumen, David brings significant business and operational experience from his highly successful tenure as a CEO within the football industry.

“Along with Andrew McKenzie (General Manager – High Performance), the appointments of Briana and David will strengthen the management and future prospects of our National Teams as we look to create an elite performance and operational environment featuring a world’s best-practice focus.”

CEO of Football Australia James Johnson added how their experience and wealth of knowledge will ensure operation excellence via press release.

“The appointments of Briana and David are strategic moves that align with our vision to enhance the performance and success of our National Teams. Their combined experience and leadership will play a crucial role in ensuring operational excellence, so we remain competitive on the global stage and continue to inspire the next generation of football talent in Australia.”

Football Australia – National Teams Senior Management

Head of National Teams: Gary Moretti
General Manager – Women’s National Teams: Briana Harvey (commencing 12 August)
General Manager – Men’s National Teams: David Mason (commencing 12 August)
General Manager – High Performance: Andrew McKenzie (commenced 10 July)
General Manager – Football Analysis, Data and Insights (to be appointed)

The creation of four new leadership positions within the National Teams underscores Football Australia’s commitment and investment in its Senior and Youth National Teams, as outlined in the XI Principles for the future of Australian Football. Every position plays a critical role in advancing, overseeing, and ensuring the sustained success of all High Performance and National Team programs and initiatives.

Football South Australia extend collaboration with SAASL

Football South Australia and the South Australian Amateur Soccer League (SAASL) have extended their collaboration, strengthening their cooperation in developing football in the state.

There was a meeting held recently where key representatives from both organisations discussed ways to continue their growth of the game in the state at all levels.

Since the partnership began in 2018, the two parties have made a meaningful impact in the South Australian football community.

Several key initiatives have been launched through this collaboration which include:

Referee Development: Football SA’s Referees Department is now responsible for assigning match officials for all SAASL games. In 2024, the strategic emphasis by Football SA and SAASL on referees has led to a notable improvement in match official coverage for Senior Divisions in both Saturday and Sunday leagues.

Officiating Initiatives: Football SA has introduced various initiatives to recruit new referees and support young officials, such as State Championships and specialised mentorship programs. Meanwhile, SAASL is actively working on strategies to enhance their Club Referee program, offering a clear pathway for both new and returning referees.

Respect Campaign: The Armband Campaign to protect young referees has been successfully launched. Embraced by clubs, participants, and the football community, the bright orange armbands worn by referees under 18 serve as a clear reminder that these officials are minors.

Venue Support: ServiceFM Stadium has been the venue for major SAASL events, offering a professional environment for amateur league matches.

Streamlined Registration: SAASL players will keep registering via a consistent Player Registration System, which enhances administrative efficiency and ensures the integrity of player registrations.

Shared Competition Management System: Offering uniform and efficient Competition Management Processes across all competitions, enhancing efficiency for clubs, referees, and association administrators.

Enhanced Player Protection: SAASL players are covered by the National Insurance Scheme, which offers essential protection for clubs, administrators, volunteers, and participants.

Michael Carter, CEO of Football SA spoke very highly of the partnership and its effects on the game in SA.

“This extension represents more than just a renewal of our agreement,” he said in a statement.

“It’s a testament to the evolving and strengthening relationship between Football SA and SAASL. We’re working closer together than ever before, and the results speak for themselves.”

George Fotopoulos, President of SAASL and SAASL Board members and Executive Officer Darcy Evan shared a similar sentiment about the excitement of this continued long-term partnership.

“We are pleased to continue our partnership with Football SA. Our ongoing affiliation has seen a significant improvement in our Referee coverage in 2024, that is due to the collaboration and hard work of both the Football SA and the SAASL administration teams. We look forward to further opportunities the partnership will provide,” SAASL confirmed in a statement.

Overall, this partnership enhances the infrastructure, safety, and quality of football in South Australia, encouraging greater participation for players, coaches and referees which is helping the sport thrive at all levels.

Amateur and grassroots football success is the core to any good footballing foundation and this prosperous partnership continuing is a brilliant result.

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