Football has become a universal language at Fairfield High School as the Football 4 Development Program enters its second year with a 100 per cent increase in participants.
The fully funded program targets under privileged kids and gives them a chance to develop not only their football skills but their character, teamwork and integrity.
Head of physical education Adam Johnson said football has been a good way for several of the students to integrate into Australia.
“We are the biggest multicultural school in the state with 96 per cent from non-English speaking backgrounds – but all the kids love soccer,” he said.
“This year we have 45 kids in the program, which is up from 20 last year.
“We have also seen an increase in girls’ participation.”
One of those is Fairfield resident Medina Rufati who started the program last month.
“I really enjoy it. We get to practise our skills and learn how to kick better,” the 13-year-old said.
The program, operating from the Ultimate Soccer facility within the school grounds, is run by Level 2 football coach Tom Haythornwaite.
There are three groups: year 7/8 boys, year 7-10 girls and year 9/10 boys.
Former Socceroo Paul Wade was a special guest at Thursday’s launch of season two and gave a presentation about his experiences in his time with the sport.