There are more than 120 languages spoken in and around the City of Bankstown in Sydney’s West, but the youth of the area are increasingly speaking the language of football.
The City’s decision to extend its Twilight football programme, known as “Twilight Soccer,” into a third year has the full backing and support of A-League club, the Western Sydney Wanderers.
Striker Golgol Mebrahtu, who was born in Sudan, told SBS the program kept kids active.
“It keeps kids busy and not bored and keeps them in a healthy lifestyle,” he said.
Keeping kids off the street and engaged was initially trialled in Bankstown with “Midnight Basketball” four years ago. That success paved the way for Twilight Football.
“It keeps kids busy and not bored and keeps them in a healthy lifestyle.”
It’s designed for 12- to 16-year-olds, with food provided each session as well as life lessons.
The Mayor of Bankstown said she was proud of the initiatives.
“These are unique programs where our young people are given tools on how to socialise with others and learn sporting and social skills,” she said.
Wanderers player Mark Bridge joined Mebrahtu for this year’s launch with the club also contributing equipment and a coach. The NRMA has also tipped in $5,000 to support the Council’s six-week-long program.
Seattle-born coach Megan Miller, who’s running the course, encouraged the locals to get on board:
“Get out and try it even if football’s not your first sport. There’s room for everybody,” she said.
The more kids that choose making friends, having fun and learning about football, the richer the dividend will be for the entire community – football lovers or otherwise.