Last weekend, Lions Stadium played host not only to its usual National Premier Leagues (NPL) Queensland fixture but also to a unique All-Star match as part of the Kick Start Inala football program.
A collaborative project between Football Queensland (FQ), Inala Community House, Welcome to the Game, Brisbane City Council, MDA, Queensland Program of Assistance for Survivors of Torture and Trauma (QPASTT) and PCYC, Kick Start Inala provides a structured football program for Year 5 and 6 students in Inala primary schools who do not have access to formal football club memberships.
Kick Start Inala was held once a week over 10 weeks in five primary schools, and culminated in the Inala Community Cup held at CJ Greenfield Park on Sunday, 17 June.
The students involved in the program were given the opportunity to play in a free, structured football program run by accredited coaches, as well as gain experience playing in a tournament and finals.
Following the Inala Community Cup, the Kick Start Inala football program featured an All-Star exhibition match played prior to the kick-off of the Lions FC and Magpies Crusaders FC Round 18 NPL Queensland match, with a select number of players from different teams in the program selected to participate.
Rohan Cassell, FQ Community and Social Football Manager, said the program was the first opportunity many students had to access structured sport.
“Many of the children and their families have not the means nor understanding of structured weekend sports that we have grown up with,” Cassell said.
“Their families have come from countries all over the world, many from areas of conflict, and a football program like this gives them easy access to their chosen sport.”
As a result of the program, improvements have been seen in the behaviour of some students both at school and at home.
“One school involved in the program has already provided feedback that they have recorded a dramatic drop in altercations in the playground this term,” Cassell said.
“As well as this, parents we met at the Inala Community Cup and the All-Star game openly spoke about their children’s improved behaviour at home, and an increase in their time spent outside in play activities.”
In addition to behavioural improvements of students, Cassell said the Kick Start Inala program has seen a sense of community develop with families from different schools, both at the Inala Community Cup and at the All-Star exhibition match.
Next school term, Kick Start Inala hopes to expand the program to include another primary school in Inala and potentially two others in the Acacia Ridge area.
Words: Elizabeth Lepre