City in the Community Update

See what Melbourne City FC have been up to in the community over the past week with the Viva Victoria festival headlining this week.

Viva Victoria

Melbourne City FC's proud commitment to promoting cultural diversity was underlined on Sunday afternoon at the seventh annual Viva Victoria Festival.

The festival is part of Cultural Diversity Week and held at Federation Square. It is a statewide celebration of Victoria's linguistic, cultural and religious diversity. The week, which ran from 14-­22 March, coincided with the United Nations' International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on the 21st of March.

Music and dance performances were held all day long across four stages, while children had an opportunity to get involved with interactive games, educational stalls as well as arts and craft. Food stalls showcasing over 20 sweet and savoury delights from across the globe to enhance festival's immersive experience.

Melbourne City FC organised a miniature football pitch to be in place for the public to get involved with members of Melbourne City's SEDA talented player program in small­-sided matches. The 30 degree heat was not a deterrent, with everyone encouraged to test themselves against some of Victoria's most promising young footballers at one of Melbourne's iconic landmarks.

Organisations used the popular event as a platform to grow awareness, such as the Country Fire Authority (CFA), the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission and the Cancer Council.

Victoria represents people from over 200 countries worldwide, speaking over 260 languages and dialects, which is reflective of the diversity seen in Australian football. The A-­League has featured players from 66 countries since its inception, with Martinique the latest inclusion after Melbourne City striker Harry Novillo's arrival earlier this month.

Football possesses a global appeal, and has always been a vehicle to bring people together from varying cultural backgrounds which helps to enhance diversity in a community.

Cultural Diversity Week

Leading into Cultural Diversity week Melbourne City FC Game Development Co-Ordinators Louisa Bisby and Simon Zappia attended a number of Primary Schools that included students who have between 20-30+ different nationalities and faiths.

Clinics were held at Antonine PS, Coburg, Kensington PS, Kensington, St Marys PS, Greensborough and Blackburn English Language School (Maroondah Campus).

Within the environment of playing fun football, learning new and practising old skills, students were informed of Melbourne City FC players and their nationality or family background.

This allowed and help students to identify the different family backgrounds and how football can bring people together.

Louisa Bisby also conducted a training session with the U13 to U16 Girls at Pascoe Vale Soccer Club working on first touch, passing and 1v1 competition with the aim to score as many goals as possible. This was followed by the Girls Jersey Presentation for the upcoming season.

City Sisters Program

City Sisters, an exciting new six month community initiative in launched in conjunction with MatchWorks, will give 17 unemployed and under-employed local women the opportunity to develop their employability skills while also learning about active and healthful living.

Sue Crow, Melbourne City FC Head of Community, said “We are really looking forward to this project for several reasons. This program is exciting because we are working with a sponsor on a community initiative which will leverage benefits for both organisations. As well as employment and increase in self-esteem and confidence, many are now looking for fitness and weight loss improvements through the football sessions with Louisa Bisby. A couple of the women have already indicated they would like to join a football club, which we will facilitate.

Within two sessions, the participants are relaxed, engaged and have made new friends. The football session has helped break down a lot of early barriers.”

This initiative has been developed with local job service provider MatchWorks. The participants, aged 17 to 24, will work with Melbourne City development staff to undertake football, fitness and lifestyles programs, while also partaking in MatchWorks job search and interview preparation, training, career guidance, and a mentorship program with women in business.

Melbourne City FC CEO Scott Munn and MatchWorks Operations Manager Colin Entwistle launched the event at City Football Academy and defender Robbie Wielaert presented each participant with their own personalised Melbourne City training shirt.