June 12, 2018

Football unites to help youth thrive

Spectrum’s Boys Squad uses the universal language of football to bring youth from migrant and refugee backgrounds together, in Australia.

Australia is renowned for its passion for sport, and celebrated for its cultural diversity.   Melbourne, in particular, is known as one of the most livable cities in the world and attacts people from around to world to live here.   Some of them are our clients to Spectrum who have arrived through refugee and humanitarian support.  All are proud to call Australia home.

What a game!

Recently, Spectrum and Western English Language School (WELS) hosted a friendly tournament for 40 young people to enjoy the world game. The Sunshine based, Boys Squad played against Spectrum’s Football Pathways Program (FPP) based in Broadmeadows.

The game was played with joy, fun, freedom, and a high level of fairness and professionalism. The event was attended by WELS and Spectrum staff members and senior teachers, who handed the trophies to the winning team, the best goalkeeper and man of the match.

Two programs, one pitch

Spectrum’s purpose is to enable people from migrant and refugee backgrounds to feel at home in Australia, through provision of a full life cycle of services.    One of these programs is Spectrum’s Boy’s Squad, run in partnership with WELS and includes excursions and team building activities, as well as football (soccer) programs every Friday during school term.

Spectrum’s Football Pathways Program, runs each Monday after school in Broadmeadows, in partnership with City of Hume. The program offers high quality football training for young people of migrant and refugee backgrounds so they become better football players, and grow as people by practicing important values such as respect, team work and commitment.

Both programs encourage the young people to be proud of their cultural heritage and, at the same time, to support them in adapting to the Australian way of life.

Different journeys connect with respect

Boys Squad captain, Monykuch Kuol says, “Out of all the great activities that I’ve participated in, this football match is the highlight of our program, since I have been the member of Boys Squad. It was an eye opening experience to play against other youth with similar background as ours, but from a different part of the world. On behalf of my team, I thank you Spectrum and WELS very much for making this possible. We really look forward to more of these events.”

Spectrum Youth Worker, Emmanuel Saakai says of the match, “I love seeing the smiles that football brings to the faces of our youth here; that sense of joy, connectedness and togetherness. It’s an amazing feeling to see these young people, who come from all the world, united through the universal language of football in Australia.  We encourage them to keep playing for the rest of their lives and to embrace every opportunity that Australia has to offer”.

By Emanuel Saakai
Youth Worker, Spectrum