The award-winning Football For All programme has reached new heights in 2023.
More than 1,700 young Kiwis from more than 14 different ethnicities have taken part in the programme so far this year in Wellington, Auckland and Canterbury, following its expansion into the South Island.
Football For All, a joint venture between Wellington Phoenix, Capital Football and New Zealand Police, with principal funding from Lloyd Morrison Trust, is aimed at recent refugee and low socioeconomic families and facilitates their involvement in local football — whether that be at clubs or schools, in futsal or refereeing and coaching.
The biggest growth has come in futsal as a result of the partnership with the UP! Foundation, which has allowed the programme to expand its reach into schools in the Wellington region.
Football For All has visited five schools in the capital so far this year, helped set up 36 primary school futsal teams and six college teams, and assisted Capital Football clubs in running two primary school tournaments.
The programme has also helped 296 young footballers play the sport this winter, 259 of which are in the Wellington region, an increase of 54% from 2022. Three participants have also enrolled in a coach education course.
Mainland Football too has appointed a Football For All coordinator this year and the programme has so far helped remove potential barriers for 22 participants from African and Middle Eastern communities to play football in the top half of the South Island in 2023.
Phoenix general manager David Dome has hailed the programme’s continued growth.
“Football For All is now in its fourth year and is going from strength to strength,” Dome said.
“It’s helped hundreds of young Kiwis from disadvantaged groups play the beautiful game since the programme’s inception in 2020.
“Capital Football’s diversity and inclusion officer Jess McFadyen does a tremendous job leading the programme and all of the club and school coordinators have bought in.
“It’s exciting to see Football For All expand into Te Waipounamu this year and we’re hoping to eventually have a presence throughout the motu.”
The programme wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for its principal partner the Lloyd Morrison Trust, New Zealand Police, New Balance, NZCT and key community partners.