Heart And Metlink Join Forces For Street Soccer

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip and Kamal Ibrahim joined over 40 people in taking part in The Big Issue Street Soccer Program training session in Dandenong last night, through the support of Community Partner Metlink.

Melbourne Heart FC Head Coach John van ‘t Schip and Kamal Ibrahim joined over 40 people in taking part in The Big Issue Street Soccer Program training session in Dandenong last night, through the support of Community Partner Metlink.

As ambassadors of the program, van ‘t Schip and Ibrahim led drills and demonstrations before providing participating in a series of impromptu matches as Heart reiterated its support for Street Soccer.

Van ‘t Schip said the evening provided an insight into the challenges faced by marginalised members of the Victorian community.

“Participating in the Street Soccer training session was an extremely rewarding experience, and I can-t help but admire the character of the players themselves who have taken the opportunity be part of the program,” he said.

“Street Soccer is a wonderful initiative and I am proud to have been appointed as an ambassador to the program.”

Together, Heart and Metlink have joined forces to support The Big Issue-s Community Street Soccer Program, which works with homeless and marginalised people at soccer training sessions.

Given everyone in the community uses public transport, the partnership provides the chance for public transport staff to engage with and understand some of the issues marginalised people face.

Weekly training sessions are held at pitches across Victoria, helping participants get fit, develop friendships, access support services and be a part of a community.

To further support Street Soccer, Metlink has donated the space on the back of Heart-s shorts so it now features the Street Soccer logo. This is the first time a professional Australian club has permanently devoted part of its uniform to a community organisation.

“The partnership is extremely relevant to public transport as staff come across disadvantaged and marginalised people on our network every day. Teaming up with Melbourne Heart and involving their players and our staff in the Street Soccer program will help create better interactions on the network,” Metlink CEO Dale Larkin said.

Street Soccer players will enjoy a once-in-a-lifetime experience on Friday 19 November with a barbecue dinner which is being served up by celebrity chef Tobie Puttock and his crew from Fifteen Restaurant as well as the opportunity to play on the ground at AAMI Park at half-time when Melbourne Heart play Adelaide United.

This partnership also encourages Melbourne-s growing number of soccer fans to catch public transport, visit the Metlink website for service information and use Metlink information tools such as the journey planner and free iPhone app for train, tram and bus information.