To mark the beginning of our week-long series of special features to mark our charity partner Moriarty Foundation’s Indigenous Football Week, Wiradjuri Woman and Dubbo-based JMF coach Tiffany Stanley spoke to Ben Gilby about her background, her work for the Foundation, and the importance of role models.
Above: Tiffany Stanley pictured with John Moriarty, co-founder, and co-chair of Moriarty Foundation. John was the first recognized Indigenous Australian to be selected for the national football side. He has also served in various Indigenous Affairs departments at both state and national levels of government as well as being a well-known Indigenous Australian artist. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.
Tiffany Stanley is based in the JMF (John Moriarty Football)’s Dubbo hub and is one of very few women in Australia to hold a C-level coaching licence. Dubbo is 242 miles North-West of Sydney and has a population of just under 40,000. Tiffany began our discussion by telling us about her background.
“I’m a proud Wiradjuri woman. I was born and raised in Dubbo, New South Wales. I grew up playing football with my older brother, then decided to follow him into playing rugby league then went back to playing football with my aunty.
“My JMF journey began with my old football coach Paula asking if I would like to give this job a try and at first I said no and was afraid of change but now being a part of JMF, I wouldn’t change anything. I have now been a part of JMF for 14 months and I am enjoying every minute of it.”
Tiffany then outlined what an average week is like working for the Foundation.
“I’d be delivering to five schools a week, depending on if I’m working in town or satellites plus a select group training session with kids we have identified with talent during our school delivering as well as a Breakfast Club and Morning Training plus Deliver to Juvenile Justice.
“My proudest moment since I started this role was achieving my C-Licence along with the most challenging being trying to balance out the workload while working from home during covid.”
The work of Moriarty Foundation places emphasis on supporting children’s education and healthcare as well as football. Tiffany explained how these elements are built into her work with the youngsters.
“JMF staff have completed a mental health course which means that we are now Mental Health First Aiders. Additionally, we tend to check in with all the teachers who work with the children that attend our JMF select group session and our Scholarship kids to see how they are going in class.”
With the theme of Indigenous Football Week this year being Gender Equality in Football, Tiffany stated why this topic is so essential. “Not every child has the best upbringing, especially young indigenous kids, but being a part of a team is what gives you that sense of belonging. You start to feel a change in yourself and build respectful relationships between yourself and others.”
Positive role models are so important to all children growing up, and Tiffany was blessed to have some incredible people who believed in her.
“My aunty taught me and showed me that if you want something in life you need to work for it, not everything in life will be handed to you, and sometimes you might feel like you’re falling but you can’t give up. It all takes time.
“I loved all my sports growing up and when my parents couldn’t afford it, my aunty would always help out by letting me play the sports I love and also being there on the field playing alongside me.
“My parents had seven children and when growing up they were always there to support us in any way they could. I remember throughout my whole schooling, my parents showed up to every Athletics Carnival from primary to high school. They were at every game on the weekends watching my brother and me play.
“Every time one of us kids were sick or injured it was Dad who was always there in the hospital with us being there by our side.”
“Rebecca Schofield (project officer for NASCA, who work to empower Indigenous Australian children to develop life skills, personal development, and long-term resilience) was one of the biggest Inspirations to not only myself but to so many young Indigenous kids.
“She helped us overcome any challenge or obstacle in our way whether it was school or personal. We knew that we could always count on her. She would be so proud of where I am today.”
“There’s also Orby Boney who is one of the best Athletes I know. I didn’t always have the best attitude in my teenage years but I loved playing sports and Orby was someone who I looked up to in my sports and wanted to have the skills just like him. One day he said I was really talented and I would go a long way in my sports but my attitude would stop teams from picking me.
“Since that day I have firmly believed that you speak to people the way you want to be spoken to and treat people the way you want to be treated. Not everyone you meet is going to be kind but if you spread a little kindness it will go a long way.”
Looking ahead to the future, Tiffany says “I am keen to achieve my B-licence coaching qualification, complete my X-Venture essential skills program and look to become a head coach and a mentor.”
Finally, Tiffany considered the advice that she want to give the younger version of herself if she could step back in time.
“I’d say don’t give up! Keep going! You may have a few failures in life but you get through them and it only makes you become stronger.
“Don’t be afraid to take that chance, it might be the one thing that changes your life.”
Tiffany Stanley’s story is so powerful and the work she is doing for John Moriarty Football with Indigenous Australian children with football, healthcare, and supporting their education is literally life-changing. We can all learn from the advice she gives.
To hear more from Tiffany, look out for this Friday’s Facebook Live event where she joins JMF co-founder, co-chair, and co-MD Ros Moriarty, Impetus sponsored player Leah Embley of Brighouse Town, and the club’s head coach Rob Mitchell in a special discussion programme on Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Gender Equality In Football, which is hosted by Impetus founder and editor Ben Gilby.