Mayamantharra theme drives Indigenous Football Week 2022

John Moriarty Football

In the seventh year of John Moriarty Football’s (JMF) delivery of its Indigenous Football Week initiative, the transformative organisation has embraced a theme of ‘Mayamantharra’ to honour the community support that has allowed the JMF program to run consistently.

Translating to ‘collaboration’ in the Yanyuwa language – which is spoken by families in Borroloola, Northern Territory, John Moriarty’s birthplace – Mayamantharra is intimately tied into the Moriarty Foundation’s delivery of the JMF program in remote and regional Indigenous communities around Australia.

Having grown from 120 children in Borroloola to now delivering to 2,000+ Indigenous children in 19 communities and 23 public schools across three states, the JMF program has both nurtured budding Indigenous footballers and assisted in areas of education, health, mental health and community engagement.

Soccerscene sat down with JMF Program Director Jamie Morriss and Wailwan woman and JMF Dubbo Community Coach Jorja Fuller, to discuss the significance of and opportunities that arise from Indigenous Football Week.

Jamie Morriss

The theme for this year’s edition of Indigenous Football Week is “Mayamantharra: Partnerships for Success”. What is the intention behind this theme?

Jamie Morriss: Mayamantharra translates to ‘collaboration’ in the Yanyuwa language, spoken by families in Borroloola, NT, John Moriarty’s birthplace and where John Moriarty Football (JMF) was established in 2012.

The continued delivery of JMF is made possible by the partnerships we have at the community, national and international level.

JMF is embedded in the local communities we deliver in. As such, we work closely with local community groups, councils, schools, businesses and local health organisations. For instance, throughout the year our JMF Select team in Borroloola, NT is invited to play in Katherine, the closest town with an organised football club. Katherine is a 7-hour drive and we have to stay overnight when the team goes to play. These trips are made possible by the support of organisations like MacArthur River Mine Community Benefits Trust, Roper River Council as well as local businesses.

Earlier this year, Indigenous Football Australia (IFA), which oversees the delivery and expansion of JMF, formed a partnership with adidas. The partnership will see adidas sponsor JMF scholarships and provide high quality football equipment, including footballs, boots, and bags; as well as custom uniforms.

When we talk about success, we don’t just talk about the successful delivery of JMF, it also refers to the successful transformation outcomes JMF has. JMF is achieving proven progress in 13 of the 17 Closing the Gap targets and we have a track record of improving school attendance and achieving resilient, healthier outcomes for some of Australia’s most remote Indigenous communities.

What initiatives will the Australian Professional be delivering and promoting as a part of Indigenous Football Week? 

Jamie Morriss: We are very proud to have A-Leagues as a partner for IFW22. IFW22 will be the centerpiece of the Round 4 of the Isuzu UTE A-League Men 2022/23 season. Each match will include a Welcome to Country ceremony, a celebration of Indigenous culture and the opportunity for fans to join our story and donate to further the work of JMF. Expect to see a lot of Indigenous Football Week artwork at the games, plus lots of coverage about our story across A-Leagues’ channels, plus on Channel 10.

A-Leagues and Paramount+ (Channel 10) are also taking part in our IFW22 Charity Football Tournament on 25 October at Allianz Stadium in Sydney. They are part of 10 teams that are competing and raising money for JMF.

From starting with 120 children in Borroloola, to now delivering the John Moriarty Football program to over 2,000 Indigenous children across three states, why has JMF been so successful?

Jamie Morriss: We succeed because we are Indigenous-founded, Indigenous-delivered, embedded, holistic and authentic. JMF is co-designed and community-led. In each of the communities we deliver in we work closely with a Community Advisory Group made up of community Stakeholders, Elders, and Traditional Custodians, to guide and advocate for JMF.

We are deeply embedded in the communities we deliver in and have a permanent presence, we are not a fly-in, fly-out program with a sporadic presence. Our coaches come from the local community, they often know the children and families we deliver to, they understand the challenges, they are trusted.

Jorja Fuller: JMF has only been running in Dubbo for three years, but in that time it has become a trusted community organisation. We often participate in community events to help out because we are embedded in the community and highly respected by children and families.

Gala Day JMF

How important is the continued embracing of initiatives supporting Indigenous communities to the growth of Indigenous football?

Jamie Morriss: There is enormous football talent in the communities we deliver to and for the most part, football as a sport is not well represented in these areas. The predominant sport tends to be AFL or rugby. Programs like JMF provide pathways for Indigenous players, through our grassroots delivery, Scholarship program and the coaching career opportunities we provide in local communities. These can be pathways to a better future through health and education, or through the game itself.

Right now, we have 14 players in our Scholarships program. Some based in their local community getting support with mentoring, advanced coaching, school tutoring, equipment, club fees and more. A number are studying in top sport high schools in Sydney. They are a talented bunch and we are confident we have some future stars of the game in the group.

Jorja Fuller: In the Dubbo region we’ve seen a growth in the uptake of football thanks to JMF. A lot of this is because of our school programs, the kids love it and so do the teachers. After a JMF session they focus more on their school work and they are more likely to come to school on the days JMF is running. We even see small clubs are having more junior registrations.

Jamie Morriss: For around 20 years the Peak Hill local football club had no junior teams due to a lack of participation. However, after JMF began delivering our in-school program to the local public school, interest began increasing and the club entered a junior team for the first time in 20 years.

What are the next steps for John Moriarty Football in the coming years?

Jamie Morriss: Under the guidance of our Indigenous Football Australia Council we’d definitely like to grow our program to reach more communities and Indigenous children. We’d also like to guide more aspiring young Indigenous footballers into pathways to advanced and elite football, like our Inaugural JMF Scholarship holder Marra women Shadeene Evans, former Young Matilda who will be playing in the upcoming A-Leagues Women season for Sydney FC.

We get asked all the time by schools and communities around Australia to bring JMF to their children as they see the success we are having at building health, wellbeing and resilience, as well as promoting education. We’d love to be able to answer the call, it really comes down to funding which is why Indigenous Football Week is so important. This year we are asking football fans to make donations to support our work.

John Moriarty

Juventus Creator Lab: a novel strategy for football media

Over the years Juventus FC has had to endure substantial challenges on and off the field, however, they are making a robust return in the digital space. The club’s digital team is working diligently to establish new, stable revenue sources through the Juventus Creator Lab, initiating partnerships and launching new online platforms.

It is evident that the Italian giants have not been very forthcoming about their vision, strategy, and future plans for the club in recent years.

Considering the pressure they’ve faced after being docked 10 points by the Italian football federation’s appeals court, it’s understandable why they’ve been less communicative. This penalty resulted from an investigation into the club’s transfer activities.

The legal case remains unresolved, as the club maintains they have operated within the rules. Additionally, several executives were banned from football due to their involvement, leading to the appointment of a new executive team to bring stability to Turin.

One of the newer executives at Juventus Football Club is Mike Armstrong, who became Chief Marketing Officer in September 2021. The Canadian leader brings a diverse background in technology, having worked with Google and YouTube, and in advertising, with experience in fast-moving consumer goods brands like Kraft Foods and AB-Inbev, as well as in an esports start-up.

The Juventus Creator Lab is the birthplace of Juventus’ digital products, a fresh creative approach inspired by LA-style creator houses and gaming studios, designed to cater to a global fanbase.

The Juventus Creator Lab is designed to enhance accessibility and foster a closer connection across all areas of Juventus, including the men’s and women’s first teams, Next Gen, legends, esports teams, and even the innovative animated kids’ series dedicated to the younger fanbase, Team Jay.

With a rich background in corporate America, Armstrong objective is where the overarching aim has always been clear ever since he joined: to outpace competitors in growth while simultaneously enhancing profit margins.

This mentality is what Juventus and the entire football industry needs, a defined objective of consistently generating revenue to fund the development of a football team capable of competing with the world’s top clubs.

Armstrong talks about the instability within the industry via an interview for Off The Pitch, which he acknowledges as a fundamental aspect of sports. Success or failure in qualifying for competitions can cause substantial revenue fluctuations.

“For me, this is the approach we need to pursue. Players are always crucial, but they come and go, and their presence can be unpredictable. So, I believe all football clubs need to explore ways to make their business less susceptible to volatility. In my case, along with my colleagues, we confront a reality where players serve as key distribution drivers due to their social media followings,” he explains.

“However, recently, out of necessity, we decided that we had to develop a business model capable of ensuring substantial revenues even when major players departed the club. With this goal in mind, we’ve witnessed a significant transformation in our approach and operations, and we believe we’ve made considerable strides in recent years.”

With an annual revenue of $741 million, Juventus has faced difficulties in their digital operations after the departure of key social media influencers such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Leandro Paredes, and Paul Pogba.

To determine the type of content creator you should become, it’s essential to understand your audience. Armstrong recognised that with 90 percent of Juventus fans living outside Italy and 40 percent of them being under 24 years old, the club needed to significantly rethink their approach.

They have achieved impressive milestones with 60 million followers on Instagram, 30 million on TikTok, and 7.5 million on YouTube. Armstrong mentions that they have exceeded initial expectations, and he anticipates substantial revenue growth from sponsors in the coming years.

A clear indicator of their progress is the addition of 2 billion more video views last season compared to the one before, and an overall increase of 159 percent in video views across their ecosystem over the past two seasons.

Simultaneously, they initiated several partnerships, including one with Celine Dept, a rapidly growing digital sports creator with 43 million followers. Juventus also partnered with 433, one of the world’s leading football communities boasting 115 million followers, and Wave Sports + Entertainment, which has over 130 million followers across its various accounts.

The difficult part for Juventus, as with all other clubs, is making sure they create content that connects with all their fans.

Looking at all this from a football landscape in Australia, it seems too good to be true to have a physical laboratory of where a clubs digital products are born, this would greatly benefit the Isuzu UTE A-League men’s and Liberty A-League women’s to enhance the clubs around the country not only on social media platforms but also both in a traffic and engagement aspect to be seen by global brands.

Hanh Tran: “I have a passion for providing a voice for women in sport”

Hanh Tran is a familiar voice across Football Victoria, having served as the original Series Futsal women’s broadcaster. Hanh has become well intertwined within women’s football across the state.

An advocate for women’s football, she has effectively singlehandedly shone a spotlight upon women’s futsal.

Throughout her established commentary career, Hanh has had broadcast involvement in finals, cup competitions and League matches across both indoor and outdoor women’s and men’s football competitions.

Speaking to Soccerscene, she discussed topics including being a commentator, what her dream is as a commentator, and the changes she would like to see in Australian womens football.

Tell me about yourself as a commentator.

Hanh Tran: I have been commentating on women’s soccer for a little over 5 years.  I first began commentating on woman’s futsal for the Series Futsal Victoria Women’s league, played at Futsal Oz.

At the time the Men’s competition had weekly commentators calling their game and the women’s did not.  I was also a player for the women’s league at the time.

I felt that the woman needed a voice to help boost and build their game, so I then made the initiative to jump on the mic and give commentating a try with the encouragement from owner Peter Parthimos I was in the box commentating my first week after.

In the beginning, it was all voluntary work and was more than happy to provide my time each week as it was something that I loved doing and the players enjoyed watching the game with commentary on it.

In late 2019 Football Victoria held an information seminar for women in media. This opened a huge door for me to help bring my commentating to a new level and provide me with a new challenge.

I was invited to join the Football Victoria commentary team for the upcoming 2020 season of NPL and NPL Women’s.

Unfortunately, due to COVID, I couldn’t make my debut to call the NPLW games that year. Fast forward to 2021 and I have been on the roster for most of this season calling the NPLW games.

I have a passion for providing a voice for women in sport, where at times there has been a male broadcaster calling female games. I feel the industry is in the progression of providing opportunities for diversity.

Growing up, I played every sport that was provided to me and loved being part of the community of sport.

When I watch I hear sports on the TV or radio, I’m so intrigued by the commentators and the way they capture the audience and entertain us in their own unique way when calling the game. I’m always listening out to different techniques and phrases that they use.

I remember watching the Matilda’s vs Vietnam in the Olympic qualifying match and made myself a personal goal to one day commentate a Vietnamese vs Australia football game.

Being from a Vietnamese background, that would be a dream come true. To represent Vietnam, Australia and be the voice for women’s football.

I want to be the pioneer of a Asian background and be a role model for future generation of commentators and media personnel.

What is something with women’s football you’d like to see change?

Hanh Tran: I would love to see more promotion and increasing the exposure of women in the media and to boost diversity in the industry.

I found there was a lack of content to champion and showcase the female players; and most of these outlets were hosted mainly by men.

More games being streamed, especially VPLW. More podcast, reels, panel shows. Pre game and post game interviews.

Advertisement of the players and their clubs, introductory videos of the clubs and teams, similar to USA college basketball and NFL and side line reporters.

What are your thoughts on the Nike Cup competition?

Hanh Tran: Love to see a VPLW team to get to the finals. One of the best quality games we’ve seen in a long time. 2 penalty shoot outs and 3 games going to extra time. They’ve been very close games.

Great exposure to smaller clubs that normally don’t get much limelight. FV have invested time and energy this year to make the cup stand out for the womens game.

Where would you wish to see growth within football in Australia?

Hanh Tran: More investment in the A league and growing the women’s game. So much support goes to the Matilda’s, but then no huge return of money invested in the A league.

Need more growth and international players come to the A-league to grow the game internationally to make it more entertaining.

Similar to what cricket did with the Big bash. Try something fun and exciting to bring in new and young viewers.

90 minutes is a long time to concentrate on a game that is low scoring, something that can bring in new football fans to watch the game.

A more sense of community and excitement, or collaboration with the men’s games, more double headers. The All-Star game was a hit against Arsenal, that will draw in more viewers and spectators.

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