One Ball is proud to partner with Football Victoria and the Victorian Government in delivering the Empowering Lives Through Football project.
One Ball is a community soccer and wellbeing program based in the City of Port Phillip. Led by former Young Socceroo and professional footballer, Kamal Ibrahim, One Ball provides opportunities for young people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds across Melbourne to learn positive life skills through playing soccer in a social setting.
The One Ball philosophy was inspired by Kamal’s experiences as he found support, empowerment and encouragement through football during his youth.
“Through football (soccer) I learnt skills; skills that helped me on and off the field. I looked forward to my games each week, my team was my ‘family’, I had a sense of acceptance and a way of communicating without having to speak, I learnt how to work as a team, improve myself as an individual, I was supported in a fun and safe environment.
Football has given me opportunities that I never expected. Football gave me the opportunity to represent Australia and Victoria on a national level and I was given the opportunity to travel the world. It gave me that sense of encouragement to do more with my life and that with hard work anything can be achieved.”
The Empowering Lives Through Football initiative will involve Kamal as a soccer coach and mentor and Lela McGregor as the Wellbeing Coach for the program. This program is an early intervention program which aims to connect and support young people across Victoria.
In September, Parliamentary Secretary for Crime Prevention Frank McGuire announced $150,000 in funding for the program, which will draw on skills developed on the football field to inspire self-improvement.
The program, facilitated by One Ball, is designed to encourage better decision making by at-risk young people by building a greater sense of belonging and boosting positive engagement, such as school attendance and connection with family and friends, that can help prevent offending.
Up to 50 participants between 12 and 16 years old will engage in eight sessions that vary from one-to-one and small group settings. In accordance with the Victorian Government’s roadmap to reopening, the program will be primarily delivered online, until further pandemic restrictions are eased.
The program will prioritise participants across the Ballarat, Brimbank, Melton, Greater Dandenong, Moreland and Hume regions. Participants will be nominated by Victoria Police, council staff and service providers. The program will also give an opportunity to refer young people and their families to on-going support services.
The Empowering Lives through Football initiative is part of the Victorian Government’s Sports Alliance. The Alliance was set up in June 2020 as a coordinated effort to build the capacity of the sport and recreation sector to address the causes of crime and build safer, more connected Victorian communities.
Minister for Crime Prevention, Natalie Hutchins reiterated that early intervention is key.
“We are always looking for better ways to prevent crime – this evidence-driven initiative with Football Victoria is another example of how we are getting to the root causes of crime by supporting at-risk young people.”
Football Victoria Interim CEO, Kimon Taliadoros, believes the world game is uniquely positioned to deliver outcomes.
“This is football’s opportunity to take responsibility for supporting those people who also deserve an opportunity to participate fully in life”, he said.
“We all know the power of sport. It brings people together, to share good times and bad times; to build friendships and relationships.
“We’re determined to succeed, to provide alternatives and hopefully some great outcomes for young people who need our support.”