School of Population Health

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Football United

Refugee Youth Soccer Development Program

This innovative program seeks to assist young refugees in their immigration and integration to Australia by providing a supporting and enjoyable environment through a soccer development program. While the focus is particularly on youth, the program will contain elements designed to contribute to building community cohesion among the different refugee communities, but will also explore potential for bridging across different Australian communities.

The program combines a number of approaches that have had documented success such as the use of sport to bring people from differing communities together. Fundamental as well is the use of proven effective social intervention strategies which associate factors of personal development with social development, such as empowerment and life-skills workshops, and youth mentorship programs. In addition the program will put into practice recommendations recently made at the 6th Global Conference on Health Promotion convened by the World Health Association in Bangkok, Thailand (August 2005), most specifically that of innovative, private-public multi-sectoral partnerships that support local engagement and action.


  • To contribute to building social cohesion in refugee communities through a youth soccer program;
  • Promote social inclusion and address issues of disaffection amongst young refugees; and
  • To contribute to building racial harmony and social integration across communities within the New South Wales area, through support for youth soccer development.


  1. Provide empowerment, leadership development, resilience building in young refugees through a series of youth-oriented youth soccer initiatives;
  2. Contribute to health promoting integration of refugee youth in Sydney;
  3. Contribute to body of research on youth resilience and community social cohesion in refugee immigrant communities; and
  4. Contribute to growth and development of soccer in Australia.

Overall concept

  • Design/develop/implement soccer training programs specifically for refugee community young people (after school, holidays)
    • soccer training
    • referee training
    • team management / development
  • Include empowerment, resilience, leadership training within soccer training programs
  • Assist in team development and management capacity within refugee communities
  • Link development initiative to current and past programs (for example development youth tournament and playing opportunities with e.g. spring African Australian All-Age tournament (ref cup 2005))
  • Link current development initiative to other opportunities development of a partnership program (linking clubs, e.g. Lindfield and Auburn)

Research questions

Can a soccer program be developed to include the following:

  • Contribute to capacity building in young refugees, in terms of leadership development, empowerment, building resilience, life skills;
  • Contribute to building social cohesion in multi-ethnic communities that largely consist of refugees from fragile and conflict-impacted areas; and
  • Contribute to bridging youth from various communities : those heavily populated by refugee youth / those populated with non-refugee youth?
  • Does the current soccer situation enable development of such a program?