Melbourne FC Academy Diversity Squad members begin their four-week program at Carlisle Park on Wednesday.

Developing the wonderful world of football

19.10.2018

Talented youngsters with backgrounds from all corners of the world came together as one at Carlisle Park on Wednesday for night one of the Melbourne Football Club Academy Diversity Squad.

More than 400 multicultural and indigenous players from the South East (SEJ) and Mornington Peninsula (MPJFL) Junior Football leagues applied for the four-week course - for under-15s from African, Asian or indigenous backgrounds, or with parents who both come from non-English speaking backgrounds.

More than 80 applicants were tested, with players identified from Melbourne Football Club talent squads and outstanding performances at interleague level in 2018.

Melbourne Football Club Multicultural Development Officer Seb Gargana said the program was aimed at developing the players skills, both on and off the field.

“The Melbourne Football Club Academy is passionate about creating pathways and opportunities for players from all backgrounds, and this is a fantastic opportunity for players from an indigenous or multicultural background to grow on a four-week development program,” Gargana said.

“The aim is to teach the players elite football skills, homing in on the basic fundamentals of an AFL footballer.

“But we also want the players to grow as people, to come out of their shells and work with players in similar circumstances and on a similar pathway. It’s great to see most continents of the world represented and we look forward to watching the growth of these youngsters over the next four weeks.”

The 40-strong squad – made up of players from the Casey, Dandenong and Mornington Peninsula regions – will be coached by Casey Demons assistant coach and Academy Head Coach Mark Wheatley. The program will culminate with a game against a St Kilda Academy Squad at RSEA Park, Moorabbin, on Saturday 17 November.     

Gargana explained that the Melbourne Football Club Academy Diversity Squad was the beginning of a potentially exciting journey.

“The pathway will take some of these players through to the Kickstart and All Nations Under-15 Victorian Squad, but there is also great opportunity to represent their community and be proud of their cultural heritage,” Gargana said.

“Our aim is to help these players realise their full potential, as footballers and people, and be respected and connected with the community.”

 

The 2018 program is for boys only, with the Melbourne Football Club Academy committed to its vision of implementing a girls program in 2019.

Squad members: 

First Name

Surname

Club

Cultural Heritage

Rashad

Abdul-Khalek

Noble Park

Lebanese

Alan

Alexander

Beleura

Filipino

Brendan

Alievski

Parkmore

Macedonian

Riak

Andrew

Berwick

Sudanese

Tjayse

Armstrong

Lyndhurst

Indigenous

Nick

Balica

Noble Park

Romanian

Zach

Charles

Beaconsfield

Indigenous

Kye

De Jong

Beaconsfield

Sri Lankan

Dani

de Kock

Berwick

Serbian/South African

Jack

Dowel

Berwick

Thai

Samuel

Dual

Narre Warren North

South Sudanese

Jordan

Edwards

Cranbourne

Indigenous

Finn

Emile-Brennan

Rye

Mauritian

Jackson

Ferrier

Berwick

Indigenous

Lewis

Fitzpatrick

Berwick

Filipino

Raman pal Singh

Gakhal

Lyndhurst

Indian

Tyison

Galway

Hampton Park

Indigenous

Jevan Leroy

Gunaratnam

Berwick North

Sri Lankan

Akuein

Kueth

Narre Warren South

South Sudanese

Jordan

Leveque

Narre Warren South

Seychellois/Mauritian

Mangok

Lok

Noble Park

South Sudanese

Tyler

Lucas

Berwick Springs

South African

Jordan

Male

Narre Warren North

Hong Kong

Jayden

Martingale

Narre Warren

Mauritian

Archie

McGuiness

Pearcedale

Indigenous

Daniel

Meunier

Narre Warren North

Filipino/Mauritian

Luke

Morrell

Beaconsfield

South African

Muginga

Mpota

Berwick

Tanzanian/Burundian

Joziah

Nannup

North Dandenong

Indigenous

Jason

Ockenden

Endeavour Hills

Indigenous

Ethan

Paul

Narre Warren South

Indian

Noah

Parabowo

Red Hill

Indonesian

Richard

Riek-Gai

Narre Warren South

South Sudanese

Jala

Rigby

Hampton Park

Indigenous

Andrew

Samawi

Beaconsfield

Lybian

Dantae

Saouma

Lyndhurst

Indian

Cassidy

Short

Rye

Indigenous

Patrick

Sinnema

Narre Warren North

Chinese

Kai

Suparta

Lysterfield

Indonesian

Myles

Swindle

Hampton Park

Indigenous

Chuol

Thowat

Hampton Park

Sudanese

Jacob

Vega

Narre Warren

Chilean

Jarvis

William-Moses

Rosebud

Nauruan