Official Charity

A Look Back At Indigenous Football Week

Impetus has been so proud to promote our charity partners John Moriarty Football‘s Indigenous Football Week. We look back over a week of powerful video messages, feature articles and a live broadcast (28/11/21).

Artwork: John Moriarty Football.

Five feature articles, fourteen videos and a programme broadcast on SBS Sport and Facebook Live – it’s been a powerful week of coverage of our charity partners JMF’s Indigenous Football Week theme of Gender Equality in Football.

VIDEOS:

Across our @ImpetusFootball Twitter, Facebook and Instagram feeds this week, we’ve put out a total of fourteen videos of support for Gender Equality in Football. Contributors have included young players, senior players and journalists. There’s also been a few skills challenges given to the JMF children. Missed any of the videos? They are all below!

FEATURE ARTICLES:

Monday saw Wiradjuri Woman and Dubbo-based JMF coach Tiffany Stanley share her hugely inspirational story about how she became one of the few female Indigenous Australians to hold a coaching licence and the incredible work she does on a daily basis: Tiffany Stanley: A Role Model Empowering Indigenous Children For JMF

On Tuesday, Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta women, Jada Whyman, the Sydney FC and Matildas goalkeeper was profiled by Ben Gilby, highlighting her incredible story of daily long journeys to train and play before becoming one of the nation’s top shot-stoppers: Jada Whyman: An Inspirational Player With A Big Future

Lydia Williams, one of the greatest Indigenous players to represent her country was profiled by Kieran Yap on Wednesday: Lydia Williams: Influential Matilda & Indigenous Role Model

Ros Moriarty, JMF co-founder, co-chair, co-MD and founding Women’s Football Council Chair of Football Australia spoke to Kieran Yap about the work and ethos of John Moriarty Football: “Football Is A Powerful Vehicle For Social Good And Transformation”

The week of special features concluded on Friday with Impetus editor Ben Gilby hosting a special programme broadcast on SBS Sport and Facebook Live which included Ros Moriarty, Tiffany Stanley and Impetus sponsored Brighouse Town midfielder Leah Embley as well as the club’s head coach Rob Mitchell: Impetus Involved With Indigenous Football Week Broadcast

SPECIAL BROADCAST:

Friday’s broadcast can be watched on-demand here: Cross Cultural Perspectives on Gender Equality in Football

Artwork supplied by: John Moriarty Football.

Impetus Involved With Indigenous Football Week Broadcast

In the fifth and final piece for our charity partners John Moriarty Football’s (JMF) Indigenous Football Week, Impetus founder Ben Gilby hosted a special programme broadcast on SBS Sport and Facebook Live featuring Ros Moriarty, JMF co-founder, co-chair, and co-MD, Tiffany Stanley, Wiradjuri Woman, and Dubbo-based JMF coach, Impetus sponsored Brighouse Town midfielder Leah Embley and Brighouse Town head coach Rob Mitchell 26/11/21.

Artwork: John Moriarty Football.

Above: Ros Moriarty, panellist on the discussion programme. Photo: Storyboard Media, supplied by John Moriarty Football.

The programme, just over half-hour in length discussed Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Gender Equality in Football. Among topics discussed were the huge importance of female role models, how working with players needs to focus on support the ‘whole’ person rather than just the footballer and the lack of female coaches in the women’s game and what can be done to address that problem.

Artwork: John Moriarty Football

The panel went on to highlight the challenges and negativity faces faced by females in football and how the pandemic has failed to treat women’s football the same as the men’s game.

Artwork: John Moriarty Football

The programme can be watched on-demand via our charity partner John Moriarty Football’s Facebook page here: fb.me/e/1VL81dlkg

For information on the panellists:

Above: Brighouse Town head coach Rob Mitchell, a panellist on the programme. Photo: Rob Mitchell.

Ros Moriarty: https://impetusfootball.org/2021/11/25/football-is-a-powerful-vehicle-for-social-good-and-transformation/

Tiffany Stanley: https://impetusfootball.org/2021/11/22/tiffany-stanley-a-role-model-empowering-indigenous-children-for-jmf/

Leah Embley: https://impetusfootball.org/2021/10/28/leah-embley-loving-life-at-brighouse/

Artwork: John Moriarty Football

“Football Is A Powerful Vehicle For Social Good And Transformation”

In the fourth of our special features for our charity partners John Moriarty Football’s (JMF) Indigenous Football Week, Kieran Yap spoke to Ros Moriarty, JMF co-founder, co-chair, and co-MD. Ros is also the Women’s Football Council Chair of Football Australia 25/11/21.

Above: Ros Moriarty. Photo: Storyboard Media, supplied by John Moriarty Football.

The impact that football can make goes beyond packed stadiums and trophies. At all levels, it has the potential to change lives.

The theme for this year’s Indigenous Football Week is  “Gender Equality In Football- Changing The Game.” With the rising profile of women’s football and an approaching World Cup on Australian soil, the timing could not be better to look at what has been achieved and what more can be done.

“In Australia, some of the most positive recent steps is certainly pay parity for our national teams,” says Ros Moriarty of the Moriarty Foundation.

“The renaming of the W-League to A-League Women is also a significant step in acknowledging women’s football.

“But there is still a long way to go. For instance, female football players only account for 20% of participants, only 7% of registered football coaches are women and there is low female representation in the leadership levels of football.”

Ros Moriarty is the Co-founder, Co-chair, and Honorary Managing director of Moriarty Foundation. She is also the Independent Chair of The Women’s Football Council and a passionate advocate for equality in football.

“There are a lot of motherhood statements made around gender equality and women’s football, but not always a lot of action,” she says about some of the existing barriers.   

“It’s not a box to be ticked or a report to be issued. There’s work to be done at the foundational level of the game, in the structures that support the game, from grassroots right through to the elite level.”

Reaching gender equality in Australian football is about opportunities and JMF has a game plan to address these issues and the will to put it into play.

Above: Achieving a 50/50 gender split in children participating in JMF’s programs is a big part of the Foundation’s work. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.

“The lack of women coaches is certainly a significant area that needs to be addressed,” says Moriarty

“Our program has 43% female coaches. There are fundamental changes that need to occur in how football attracts, employs, and engages with female coaches.

“More mentoring, more flexibility to support mothers and carers, equal pay, these are just some of the changes we need to see.”

John Moriarty Football is being proactive in approaching these challenges. The entire team has worked to further improve their already impressive track record.

They are implementing a three-level approach to increase the percentage of women in football. This was done with the help of former Matilda Tal Karp, who was commissioned by the foundation to help create more diversity tools and further their commitments.

  1. A holistic training and development program to fast track more women into leadership. 
  2. Flexible, safe and supportive work environments to drive equal opportunity for mothers.
  3. Awareness and culturally safe channels for proactive gender equality communications and respect.

“Our coaches are community change makers”

The flexibility is essential, not just for gender equality but for providing opportunities for the Indigenous community. There is no one all-encompassing solution. Different cultures and circumstances mean that equality can only be properly achieved by taking this into account.

“Indigenous women often face additional barriers due to cultural responsibilities, socio-economic disadvantage, particularly if they are from a remote region, and racial discrimination,” says Moriarty.

“We know from our Indigenous female football coaches that caring responsibilities and women’s ceremonial practices can impact their work-life and they require flexible arrangements.”

JMF commitment to the Indigenous football community in Australia has been long-running and successful.

Above: Participants in JMF’s coaching work. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.

“We’ve largely done this unsupported by the football hierarchy,” reminds Moriarty.

“What we’d like to see is more investment in community programs that reach remote and regional areas, not just for talent identification, but also to grow the immense social benefits of the game.”

Those social benefits are tangible and measurable. Over 10 years the foundation has shown how football can result in improvements in school attendance and performance. Additionally, student resilience, health wellbeing, and community spirit have grown and role models are discovered and cultivated.

“Football is a powerful vehicle for social good and transformation, at both personal and community levels,” says Moriarty.

“What JMF does so well is it is delivered in a holistic and culturally-enriched way and driven by coaches, employed from the local community and trained by us.

“Our coaches are community change-makers and role models for children and young people. They are actively involved in the community.

“For instance, in Borroloola, NT, our coaches were instrumental in working with the community and local businesses to build and install permanent football goals on the local oval, the first ones in the town ever.

“It has been 10 years of us erecting temporary goals every day and taking them down again. Now it’s just the nets. It’s a big thing.”

Visibility Matters

You cannot be what you cannot see and the elevation of players like Jada Whyman, Allira Toby, and Shadeene Evans to national prominence has a massive effect.

Whyman recently earned a call-up to the senior Matildas squad, Toby is a fixture at the top level of domestic football and Evans’ arrival at Adelaide is a huge coup for the club.

Above: JMF’s coaching sessions are about fun, promoting healthy lifestyles and providing support to Indigenous children’s education as well as football coaching. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.

Whyman and Toby both mentor JMF participants and to for them to achieve the heights that they have is no small feat.

“The impact is immense,” says Moriarty.

“We have 2000 Indigenous boys and girls who participate in JMF sessions in the Northern Territory, New South Wales and Queensland who look up to players like Jada Whyman, Shadeene Evans, and Allira Toby who are breaking through barriers and demonstrating that there are pathways open to get to the top level of the game and follow their dreams.”

Those dreams are becoming more achievable every year but it is not simply a matter of time. It takes effort and vigilance and JMF’s commitment to having a 50/50 balance of boys and girls participating means they have achieved what federations around the world still aspire to.

“We achieved that benchmark early on, and we have never wavered from it,” says Moriarty. 

“We decided right from the start that JMF would cater to boys and girls equally so we built our delivery model to suit that.

“We make sure we have female coaches to be role models and mentors for our female participants, we ensure equal treatment of our participants and provide equal opportunity for advancement in the game.

“For instance, we have an equal number of boys and girls in our Scholarship program.”

All eyes will be on Australia for the 2023 World Cup and JMF has shown the way towards gender equality in football.

Should The Matildas achieve the ultimate on home soil it will be a huge win for Australian football.

Should the goal of gender equality be achieved it will be a monumental victory for Australian society.

Lydia Williams: Influential Matilda & Indigenous Role Model

In the third of our special features for our charity partners John Moriarty Football’s Indigenous Football Week, Kieran Yap profiles Lydia Williams, Arsenal’s hugely experienced goalkeeper who is well worth keeping an eye on both on and off the pitch 24/11/21.

Above: Lydia Williams pictured in typical pose whilst playing for Australia. Photo: Sky Sports.

Australia’s goalkeeper is waiting and watching as the time nears.

It is a moment that requires patience, careful planning, and precise movement but as always Lydia Williams is ready.

One of the world’s best strikers approaches, She is doing the same thing she had done countless times before and then Williams…

…Launches out from underneath the merchandise table, screaming and visibly startling Sam Kerr.

Before that, Clare Polkinghorne was the victim of the Matildas number one’s notorious pranks. The unflappable defender was suddenly faced with Williams in a hockey mask from behind a curtain.

Lydia Williams has been a fixture in the Matildas lineup since the age of 15. The Kalgoorlie-born shot-stopper is one of the most influential members of the squad. A star goalkeeper, a driver of the culture, and a source of fun for fans.

Williams is a veteran of three World Cups, has won the PFA player of the year twice, and was recognized as the goalkeeper of the year on three occasions in Australia.

In the NWSL she was first-choice goalkeeper at two clubs and started every game for the Houston Dash and Seattle Reign.

Fans across the U.S, Australia, and now Britain have been lucky enough to watch her play for their clubs. But in an alternate universe, it might never have happened.

As a child, Williams played Aussie Rules. It was only after a move to a city without a team that she switched codes.

“It wasn’t until I moved to Canberra where there was no AFL so the closest thing to it for me was playing soccer and playing as goalkeeper so I fit in pretty naturally into that,” she told NITV in June this year.

Once the move was made, her reputation steadily rose on the back of impressive performances and hard work. She was signed by Canberra United in 2008 and by the 2015 World Cup, she was Australia’s first choice ‘keeper.

Above: Lydia Williams is now one of many Matildas stars playing in the FAWSL. Photo: Arsenal FC.

In that tournament, Williams established herself as one of the world’s best.

The knockout win against Brazil is remembered for Kyah Simon’s winning goal but Williams’ 90th minute save from Christiane was a decisive moment.

Earlier in the game, she spectacularly denied Formiga in one of the saves of the tournament. Williams was equal to the rocket from the Brazilian legend, launching and saving with the trailing hand,

“I’ve been training for that all my career and it finally paid off today,” Williams told the Sydney Morning Herald at the time.

“Honestly, I just knew they were going to shoot so for me it was high-up in the corner of the goal and that time it was more likely that a trailing hand would get to that height.”

Even when not on the field, Williams’ influence is enormous. When Australia completed their historic win over Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics. Williams remained on the bench throughout, but she celebrated loudly, visibly, and as enthusiastically as any of the on-field players.

She is a role model to many now herself, but like many others once looked up to other high profile athletes.

Speaking to Suzanne Wrack at The Guardian in April of 2021, she recalled watching Cathy Freeman’s legendary run at the 2000 Olympics.

Above: Lydia Williams speaks of her Indigenous Australian role models. Photo: Australian Olympic Committee.

“I still get goosebumps whenever I watch that video.

“She had the whole nation and a whole culture on her shoulders. And she was just so cool, calm, and collected throughout the whole thing. And the whole country remembers it.

“I’d love to do that myself and inspire the next generation of athletes, not just footballers, but athletes and especially Indigenous athletes.

“There’s such an untapped talent pool there and I’d just love to go out into different communities and just inspire that generation to dream big and make it for themselves.”

Williams’ example, profile, and career can have untold benefits for Australian sport, women’s football, and indigenous athletes.

It is often said that you cannot be what you cannot see and Williams is extremely visible and feels very accessible to fans.

She is an Olympian, an Arsenal player, a Matilda, a published author of two children’s books, and a social media star on Tik Tok, in the early days of lockdown her videos became a mix of bizarre and hilarious to the delight of her fans.  

Representation matters and Williams represents both herself and thousands of others seemingly effortlessly.

She is an inductee into the Aboriginal and Islander Sports Hall Of Fame already and her career still has years to go.

This week, it is worth taking a moment to recognize that we are all very fortunate to be football fans in the time of Lydia Williams.

Jada Whyman: An Inspirational Player With A Big Future

Above: Jada Whyman training with the Matildas during the October international window this year. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Football Australia.

In the second of our special features for our charity partners John Moriarty Football’s Indigenous Football Week, Ben Gilby profiles Jada Whyman, Sydney FC’s young and highly talented goalkeeper who is a fabulous role model for female indigenous Australian football players 23/11/21

Jada Whyman is one of those players who seems to have been around for a long time, yet she has just turned 22 years-old and is once more pushing for a place in the Australian national squad.

With ancestry from the Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta (also known as Jotijota) indigenous peoples and with West Coast Eagles Aussie Rules legend David Wirrpanda as an uncle and godfather, Whyman grew up in Wagga Wagga, which is located 284 miles from Sydney, and became a goalkeeping star from a young age.

She began playing football at the age of ten and within a year was selected for the New South Wales Country team. At the age of just 13, Jada was selected for the Young Matildas for the 2013 Asian Under 16 Women’s Championships. Also in this squad were current stars Sunny Franco, Rhianna Pollicina, Georgina Worth, Teagan Micah, Isabel Dalton, Angie Beard, and Alex Chidiac.

Above: Jada Whyman pictured making a save aged thirteen. Photo: Michael Frogley.

Two years later, Whyman played for Australia’s U20 side at the Asian U19 Women’s Championships in China before being selected for the main Matildas squad in 2018 for friendlies in France and England.

The level at which the young goalkeeper was now playing meant many hours travelling from her Wagga Wagga home to play in the NSW NPL with Macarthur Rams – a round trip of over five hundred miles each week. In addition, she was also spending time in Canberra being mentored by the Matildas goalkeeping coach Paul Jones at his Academy.

This was an exceptionally tough time for the whole family which also led to them having to spend some time camping in a tent, a period which Jada now identifies as a period that helped to make her stronger personally. Eventually, the Whyman’s made the move to Sydney which enabled Jada to attend Westfields Sports High School – which served as the pilot for the then FFA’s High-Performance Football School Program.

Whilst at Macarthur Rams, Jada was voted as Goalkeeper of the Year in 2015, 2016, and 2018.

Above: Jada Whyman with the 2016 Golden Glove award as a 16-year-old during her time with Macarthur Rams.

In 2016, Whyman was offered her first W-League contract with Western Sydney Wanderers. At the time, she told Rebecca First of the local ‘Leader’ newspaper: “It will probably be scary, but pretty awesome at the same time. What I am most excited about is playing against Lydia Williams (now of Arsenal), she’s one of my biggest inspirations in goal.”

That inspiration comes from Williams not just being an outstanding goalkeeper, but also as a fellow indigenous Australian. “I was watching TV when a story about Lydia came on, it stated how she was indigenous and a goalkeeper also…I was instantly filled with enjoyment as I watched her,” Whyman told Ann Odong in 2016.

Her first season in the W-League with Western Sydney Wanderers started with a bang in the big derby against Sydney FC. That campaign saw Jada make seven appearances before suffering the agony of a torn thigh against Newcastle Jets which ended her season.

Above: Jada with her family after a game for Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo: Instagram.

Whyman came back and played a further twenty-eight games for Western Sydney Wanderers over the following four seasons and suffered injury heartbreak once more, with a long-term knee injury before joining Sydney FC for the 2021 campaign.

The 22-year-old is aware of her status as a role model to young indigenous Australians. “Seeing what indigenous athletes have done, like a long time ago Cathy Freeman, now Jade North and Lydia Williams, Kyah Simon as well, players like that show me that my dream can come true and hopefully what I do can help other kids;” she said in 2018.

Jada has subsequently become involved with Impetus’ charity partners John Moriarty Football, an organization that is dedicated to helping young indigenous Australian footballers. Additionally, the young goalkeeper also does volunteer youth work for Glebe Youth Service who support young indigenous Australians in remote communities.

Whyman had a good season with Sydney FC in the 2020/21 W-League campaign which was capped off with a superb personal performance in the highly dramatic Grand Final against Melbourne Victory which earned her the player of the match award. The game itself ended in heartbreak for the goalkeeper and her New South Wales teammates at the very end, but since then, the Wagga Wagga-born star has had a recall to the Matildas squad for the second of October’s friendlies with Brazil. With a strong start to the new A-League Women campaign for her team, a place in the Asia Cup squad is not out of the question.

Above: Jada Whyman pictured after the 2021 W-League Grand Final. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Kris Goman.

Tiffany Stanley: A Role Model Empowering Indigenous Children For JMF

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 22/11/21.

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 artistPhoto 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.” 

Above: Tiffany Stanley leading a coaching session. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.

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.” 

Above: Tiffany Stanley pictured with one of the children at a gala day in Dubbo. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.

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.

Above: Tiffany Stanley showing off her own ball skills. Photo: Jacquie Manning.

“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.” 

Above: JMF coach Tiffany Stanley. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Moriarty Foundation.

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.  

Artwork: Moriarty Foundation.

Impetus Supports Indigenous Football Week

This coming week, John Moriarty FootballImpetus’ charity partner is marking Indigenous Football Week with the theme of Gender Equality in Football. We’re exceptionally proud to be supporting this project on our site and social media channels 21/11/21.

Above: Artwork: John Moriarty Football.

The theme for Indigenous Football Week 2021 (IFW21) is “Gender Equality in Football – Changing the Game” and will focus on the power of football to unlock the potential of Indigenous girls and women and improve gender equality, from grassroots to elite.

Indigenous Football Week brings the football community together to support inclusion, cultural recognition, and diversity.

Above: Ros Moriarty, JMF co-founder, co-chair, and co-MD. Photo: Twitter.

IFW21 will see some of football’s best take a deep dive into gender equality issues of women in football leadership and specific intersectional challenges and opportunities in football for Indigenous girls and women.

To celebrate Indigenous Football Week 2021 (IFW21), 22-27 November and its theme of ‘gender equality in football’, John Moriarty Football (JMF) is organising a series of Facebook Live sessions bringing people from all levels and areas of the football community to discuss this important topic.

Impetus is proud to be able to announce that we will be taking part in the event on Friday 26th November which will see founder and editor Ben Gilby lead a discussion with JMF co-founder, co-chair, and co-MD Ros Moriarty, Wiradjuri woman Tiffany Stanley who is JMF community coach in Dubbo and is one of only a handful of Australian female football coaches to achieve a ‘C’ Level coaching license, Impetus sponsored player Leah Embley of Brighouse Town and the club’s head coach Rob Mitchell.

To watch the interviews, follow JMF’s Facebook page.

The full programme of Facebook Live sessions are:

2pm AEDT Monday, 22 November
Indigenous Football Competition Opportunities

2pm AEDT Tuesday, 23 November
Gender equality and football coaching

4pm AEDT Wednesday, 24 November
Expert panel: Changing the game when it comes to gender equality

Above: Wiradjuri woman Tiffany Stanley, JMF community coach in Dubbo who is joining a special Facebook Live session hosted by Impetus founder and editor Ben Gilby this coming week. Photo: Moriarty Foundation.

2pm AEDT Thursday, 25 November
Elite football players on gender equality

2pm AEDT Friday, 26 November
Cross-cultural perspectives on gender equality in football

The Moriarty Foundation will also be holding a special girls football fitness online workshop hosted by JMF female coaches, which will be live and interactive on Tuesday 23rd November.

There will also be an online panel event featuring experts from the football community which will be streamed live on JMF’s Facebook page at 4:00pm AEDT on Wednesday, 24 November.

Panellists will include:

  • Ros Moriarty, Hon. Managing Director of Moriarty Foundation and Chair of Football Australia’s Women’s Football Council
  • Alyawarre woman Raylene King, JMF Tennant Creek Community Coach
  • Aniwan man Bryce Deaton, JMF Dubbo Head Coach and Mentor
  • Glenn Warry, CEO of Football Coaches Australia
  • Kate Gill, former Matilda Captain and Co-CEO of PFA
  • Hosted by Tal Karp, lawyer, Olympian and former Matilda

Additionally, on Saturday, 27 November JMF will be holding Community Gala Days in Kuranda (QLD), Tennant Creek (NT), and Dubbo (NSW).

Impetus will be running special feature articles during every day of Indigenous Football Week starting tomorrow. There will be exclusive features on some of the leading names in Indigenous women’s football. Also, keep an eye out every day on our social media channels during the week as we’ll be posting videos twice daily in support of Gender Equality in Football and offering skills challenges to young players.

Impetus Announces Partnership with Moriarty Foundation

Graphic supplied by: Moriarty Foundation

To mark the announcement of Impetus’ partnership with Moriarty FoundationBen Gilby spoke to John Moriarty, co-founder and co-chair of Moriarty Foundation. John was the first recognised 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 (26/7/21).

John outlined the background of Moriarty Foundation and a brief overview of the work it does. “Moriarty Foundation is an Aboriginal-established not-for-profit organisation that enables Aboriginal families and communities to unlock their children’s potential. By embracing the Aboriginal worldview, our locally-led solutions are radically shifting intergenerational disadvantage.”

“Established in 2011, Moriarty Foundation delivers two ground breaking and interrelated community initiatives in remote and regional Australia, Indi Kindi and John Moriarty Football.”

“John Moriarty Football (JMF) is Australia’s longest running and most successful Indigenous football initiative for 2-18 year-olds. JMF’s transformational skills program uses football for talent and positive change. JMF has a proven track record of improving school attendance and achieving resilient, healthier outcomes for some of Australia’s most remote Indigenous communities.

“Each week JMF reaches more than 2,000 children, with equal participation of boys and girls in eighteen communities across New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory through in-school and after-school sessions, free school holiday clinics, weekend tournaments, and in juvenile justice facilities.” 

Above: Youngsters taking part in a JMF holiday clinic. Photo supplied by: Moriarty Foundation

“JMF is community-led and guided by local Community Advisory Groups.”

With the initiative reaching so many children each week, I asked John how many staff and coaches were involved in delivering their programs in these remote communities.

“JMF has a 50/50 male/female employment policy and has thirty-five staff members of whom 63% are Indigenous. JMF staff are empowered to build their skills and qualifications through mentoring, formal coach education training and licensing, safe food handling, first aid accreditation and physical and mental health education.”

It is important to note that JMF is not just about football – it’s about improving health and lifestyle choices as John underlines. “JMF is a holistic initiative that encourages regular school attendance, healthier lifestyles, self-respect and community engagement through football and teamwork.”

“At each session, we provide access to nutritious meals and snacks. Our meals are designed by a sports dietitian and include nutrients that are often lacking from Aboriginal children’s diets in our communities.” 

Photo supplied by: Moriarty Foundation

“We provide wellness education and modelling, covering nutrition, sleep, exercise and self-calming strategies. An example of this is our breathing exercises. Every JMF session either starts or concludes with regulated breathing exercises, as well as clench and release techniques. This is intended to be a progressive practice for each individual to improve their self-emotional regulation and learn practical techniques they can use when they are stressed. By teaching emotional self-regulation strategies, we aim to build resilience and capacity in communities where stress and trauma are major contributors to disadvantage.”

“In addition, through our partnerships with local health networks, we provide vital health information our young participants need.”

The program starts with children as young as two years-old in their Indi Kindi activities. John enlarged on what these sessions are like for the young children.

“Linked to our successful Indi Kindi program, Indi Footi is a pre-school football program for two to six year olds. Delivered by our JMF coaches, Indi Footi activates young brains through movement and develops basic football and motor skills, balance and coordination in a fun, non-competitive environment. Sessions focus on fun, discovery-based football activities as well as health and wellbeing components, like breathing exercises to begin to introduce ways to self-calm.”

In terms of wider opportunities for older children, JMF also offer scholarships for indigenous children between the ages of ten to eighteen.

Above: Some of JMF’s younger participants. Photo supplied by: Moriarty Foundation.

“Our JMF Scholarships & Pathways Program begins with our Community Scholarship initiative for select participants of our JMF program in regional Indigenous communities who show exceptional talent and desire to do well at school. We support these scholars with one-on-one training, tutoring and mentoring, equipment and stationery for school, a placement with a JMF-partnered football club in the area, football equipment and travel support.

We also offer Sydney Scholarships to support JMF scholars to attend some of Australia’s top schools and undertake intensive football training in Sydney.”

“We work in partnership with schools, like SCEGGS Darlinghurst, Westfields Sport High School and St. Catherine’s School, as well as NPL football clubs (top tier State league clubs) to provide these talented children with an opportunity to pursue both a great education and advanced football development.”

The success of the program has helped to develop players who have gone on to regional and representative football. One of whom is already starting out on her W-League career, as John highlights.

“The Scholarship Program’s inaugural scholarship holder, Shadeene (Shay) Evans, went on to sign with W-League side Sydney FC, was selected as a Young Matilda and named vice-captain. Additionally, Shay was awarded the 2020 Role Model of the Year by Football Australia.”

Above: Shadeene Evans pictured with John Moriarty. Photos supplied by: JMF

The present Matildas side have a number of prominent players with indigenous heritage – Lydia Williams and Kyah Simon being two and Jada Mathyssen-Whyman has been a high profile player domestically since a very young age. Some of Australia’s biggest name Indigenous women players are actively involved in supporting JMF.

“Players like Jada Whyman and Gema Simon are frequent guests of our JMF school holiday clinics that are run each school holiday period throughout our hubs,” said John. “They get involved in running sessions, games, sharing their knowledge and having fun. Jada was also an ambassador for Indigenous Football Week in 2020 and she has recently started as a JMF Scholarship Mentor.”

With Australia having some of the world’s tightest external and internal border restrictions since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, I wondered how it had impacted on JMF’s activities.

“In 2020 when Australia went into its first lockdown our physical delivery was interrupted, however, we were still able to deliver our program virtually utilising videos and social media. Thankfully, as regional and remote areas came out of lockdown we recommenced full delivery in all our hubs observing COVID-safe guidelines.”  

The JMF has recently launched a new national body, Indigenous Football Australia to expand its Closing the Gap solution to reach thousands more Indigenous children across Australia. 

Above: Young participants in a JMF holiday clinic in Dubbo. Photo supplied by: Moriarty Foundation.

Also announced was a major partnership between UNICEF Australia and Moriarty Foundation, which has been two years in the making. The two organisations will cooperate through global exchange, knowledge sharing and community-driven advocacy. 

Among those attending the launch were Wiradjuri and Yorta Yorta woman, Jada Whyman, Matilda and W-League player and recently appointed JMF Scholarship Mentor and Marra woman, Shadeene Evans, Young Matilda and inaugural JMF Scholarship holder. 

John emphasised that: “The IFA’s aim is to extend our platform even further to bring the benefits of John Moriarty Football to Indigenous children, families and communities right across Australia.”

“Our partnership with UNICEF Australia will amplify our impacts exponentially.”

“JMF meets 12 of the 17 Closing the Gap targets and the initiative is currently offered in 18 different communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and New South Wales, at a cost of just $1,300 per child per year.”

Above: JMF coach Tiffany Stanley with a player from their Dubbo holiday clinic. Photo supplied by: Moriarty Foundation

“The IFA’s nationwide expansion will provide over 4,000 Indigenous school-aged children each week with access to a transformational football and wellbeing program as well as increasing our footprint from 18 to 36 remote and regional Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland, New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia.”

“Additionally,” John continues, “it will increase JMF’s partnerships with public schools in remote and regional Indigenous communities from 15 to 42 by providing in-curriculum football sessions and create new jobs for approximately 70 Indigenous people in remote and regional communities.”

John added, “Since launching in 2012 in Borroloola, a small community in remote Northern Territory, with 120 children JMF has kicked many goals. Over the past 18 months alone, our growth rate for participants is over 1,000 percent.”

“We’ve taken children from the bush to Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, successfully expanded in three states, held five Indigenous Football Weeks, and launched the careers of several talented young footballers”

“Building on a decade of successful operations, JMF will reach all states to create more equitable access to the great game of football for grassroots and elite players, together with improved physical and mental health, wellbeing, education and community engagement for Indigenous girls and boys, families and communities.”

John concluded: “We are always asked by people all around Australia when JMF is coming to their community as they see the positive impact it has. We are very proud to be launching IFA and this nationwide expansion of JMF that will create more Indigenous-driven pathways and opportunities for our children, families and communities.” 

The work of JMF is nothing short of inspirational and they are actively helping in changing young people’s lives as well as helping to deliver the next generation of Matildas.

As part of our partnership with Moriarty Foundation, Impetus will be highlighting its work on a regular basis which will include features on its coaches, ambassadors and programs.

We will also be highlighting fundraising opportunities and ideas for how the #ImpetusFamily can come together to support this fantastic organisation.

If you would like to donate to help Moriarty Foundation, you can do so by visiting

https://www.givenow.com.au/moriartyfoundation

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