A-League’s newest club sets benchmark for Indigenous football development
The newest club in the A-League, Macarthur FC, which announced its name today at a function for more than 500 people in its heartland of Campbelltown south of Sydney, has set a benchmark for Indigenous football development with the establishment of the A-League’s first Indigenous Football Academy.
The new Indigenous Football Academy has been welcomed by the local Aboriginal community elders, led by Auntie Glenda of the Dharawal nation, who said that they are thrilled to have the academy in their traditional home.
The Academy will be overseen by an Advisory Board to be chaired by Professor John Maynard, author of The Aboriginal Soccer Tribe.
The Advisory Board will also include a representative of the University of Western Sydney, the Campbelltown City Council and the Walker Corporation, all of which are partners in the Academy.
“I am absolutely thrilled to be part of this Academy, and congratulate Lang Walker and all involved with Macarthur FC for this,” said John Maynard.
“It is an outstanding and long overdue initiative.
“Unfortunately, the long history of Indigenous involvement in football is not well enough known, and there is a history of not enough being done to encourage that involvement.
“This initiative is a start in helping to redress that imbalance.
“There is a great untapped talent line of players from Indigenous communities here in the Macarthur region and from all over Australia,” Professor Maynard said.
Professor Maynard’s initial tasks will include establishment of the Advisory Board and development of a five-year business plan with the aim of the first intake of footballers for June 2020.
“I aim to ensure that this first-of-its-kind Academy will give talented young players – both boys and girls – the opportunity to realise their potential through football.
“This is good for the individuals, it’s good for the Indigenous communities, and it’s good for Australia,” said Professor Maynard.
The Indigenous Football Academy will be based at Macarthur FC’s Centre of Excellence in Campbelltown once it is constructed and, until then, will use facilities at the University of Western Sydney.
Earlier in the day, Macarthur FC also nominated its club colours as being black, white and ochre as symbolic of connecting the culturally and linguistically diverse Macarthur region community, including the local Dharawal Indigenous community.