Australian National Team Staff set for unique Northern Territory football trip

Football Federation Australia (FFA) National Team Staff will travel to the Northern Territory next week to take part in a range of football clinics and engagement with John Moriarty Football (JMF) and Football Northern Territory (Football NT) from 29 November to 4 December 2020. 

FFA’s delegation will include Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold, Westfield Matildas Assistant Coach Melissa Andreatta, FFA Head of Goalkeeping Tony Franken, interim Technical Director and Joeys Head Coach Trevor Morgan, and Socceroos Goalkeeping Coach, John Crawley.

Socceroos Graham Arnold
Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold

There will be two components to the trip, with Arnold, Andreatta, and Franken joining JMF in the heart of JMF’s Northern Territory delivery bases in Alice Springs, Ti-Tree, Tennant Creek, and Alekarenge. 

Meanwhile, Morgan and Crawley will join staff from Football NT for visits to communities in and around Darwin in the north of the Territory. 

Following on from FFA’s recent commitment to Indigenous football, FFA CEO, James Johnson, said FFA is proud to have joined forces with JMF and Football NT for the initiatives. 

“We are delighted to be hosted by JMF and to see the program in action within Indigenous communities in Alice Springs, Ti-Tree, Tennant Creek and Alekarenge. We also look forward to supporting Football NT, who are a valued partner and long-standing supporter of Indigenous football in the Territory,” Johnson said. 

“Football represents a vast array of cultures and backgrounds and it is important to us that the game is accessible to all, no matter age, ability, gender, cultural or socio-economic background.  

“In line with the XI Principles for the future of Australian football, we are striving to provide more opportunities for Indigenous Australians to participate in the game and this collaboration is another step in opening up football to all. 

“FFA will continue to work hand-in-hand with its partners as we seek to have a positive social impact in communities, and we are sure that Graham, Mel, Tony, Trevor, and John will take away some great insights and learnings from the experience that they can pass on to the football family,” he said. 

Melissa Andreatta
Westfield Matildas Assistant Coach Melissa Andreatta

JMF Co-Chairman and Co-Founder, John Moriarty, the first Indigenous footballer selected for Australia, said the JMF team is looking forward to introducing Arnold, Andreatta, and Franken to young Indigenous players and their coaches in remote Northern Territory. 

It’s an honour for us to host Graham, Mel and Tony in the NT. I hope they will experience something very special in JMF’s remote football communities. Red dirt, a round ball and the prodigious raw talent of our youngsters will give them a glimpse of the future if the sport can open its doors to more Indigenous footballers,” Moriarty said. 

“Our local teams are excited to participate in clinics and training sessions with Australia’s national team coaches. We’ll be showing them how JMF has been using the power of football every day for almost ten years, to enable some of Australia’s most disadvantaged communities and families to unlock their children’s potential in sport, education, health and wellbeing. Our national coaches will be warmly welcome on Country.”

Football NT CEO, Bruce Stalder, said he is excited to welcome Morgan and Crawley to the Top End. 

“Their visit will inspire many of our young footballers to continue playing this great game,” Stalder said. “This year, we have seen record numbers of Indigenous boys and girls play our game, and it is our mission to work together with NT Indigenous communities for a shared football future.”

“Just last week we celebrated Indigenous Football Week – a fantastic initiative of John Moriarty Football – with a mini tournament in Tennant Creek, which was attended by many enthusiastic Indigenous girls and boys who have demonstrated their love for the beautiful game.” 

Socceroos Head Coach Graham Arnold is keenly anticipating his first visit to the Indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. 

“I have played with and coached some very talented Indigenous footballers, and witnessed first-hand the love that they have for football,” Arnold said. “This is a fantastic opportunity to increase our connections with Indigenous communities, while the opportunity to visit some of Australia’s most unique locations is something that I am honoured to have been invited to do.”  

Westfield Matildas Assistant Coach Mel Andreatta completed coaching a 23-player Women’s Talent Identification Camp squad in Canberra yesterday, and will soon swap the nation’s capital for the Northern Territory for the special visit. 

“Many fantastic female footballers of Indigenous heritage have represented Australia at a variety of levels of the game, including Karen Menzies, Lydia Williams, Kyah Simon, Gema Simon, Jada Whyman, and Shadeene Evans,” Andreatta said.

“To have the opportunity to travel to the Northern Territory to be immersed in Indigenous football and culture, and to hopefully help foster passion for the sport in the communities is something that I am very proud to do.” 

Note to editors: Football Federation Australia is currently transitioning to the new Company Name ‘Football Australia’. The transition from Football Federation Australia to ‘Football Australia’ received unanimous Congress support at FFA’s seventeenth Annual General Meeting held on Wednesday, 25 November 2020.