Four young members of the Logan-based Multicultural Sports Club have discovered a potential new future in football by taking their first steps to becoming referees.
An initiative of Access Community Services, the Multicultural Sports Club promotes social inclusion through sport for young people from refugee, migrant and multicultural backgrounds.
Through funding support from the Australian Government’s Department of Social Services Youth Transitions program, a group of young people aged between 12 and 25 train as a team on a weekly basis as a way to build social connections and confidence before transitioning into local community clubs.
Each member is also encouraged to gain a variety of qualifications to provide alternative pathways into the sports industry as well as adding to their CV and vocational skills.
James Twisenge, Hayatullah Rohani, Ali Raza Haidari and Eric Twishime (pictured above; L-R) all recently spent a day undergoing a Level 4 Referee course conducted by experienced instructor Gordon Nicholson, with a view to volunteering and eventually earning money as registered referees.
Kim Rollason-Nokes, Sports & Recreation Coordinator for the Multicultural Sports Club, is an advocate of the role sporting programs play in promoting social inclusion.
“By getting them involved in sport it’s a big part of their settlement journey,” Rollason-Nokes said.
“Sport is a universal language and a really awesome way for them to meet other people in their community, develop social connections and gain life skills along the way.
“You can play sport, but you can also coach and you can referee and you can be an official.
“There is so much that exists in the sports industry beyond just playing. It’s giving them a bit of a taste of those different opportunities.”
In addition to training together, players from the Multicultural Sports Club take part in friendly competitions like the recent Eid Down Under Football Tournament.
Rollason-Nokes said providing opportunities based around the world game was clearly benficial.
“They identified football was obviously the most popular sport. We’ve always done a lot of football,” she explained.
“(The four boys) have all played for a long time and they know the rules quite well.
“The ultimate goal with all of our programs is they’re kind of a soft entry point – getting them involved in sport with the goal of providing pathways into other community clubs so they can start to meet other people in their community and develop those really important networks.”