Welcome Football

Using the universal appeal of football to engage with newly-arrived families and build connections with the broader local community.
Local Integration

Welcome Football

Using the universal appeal of football to engage with newly-arrived families and build connections with the broader local community.
GP-AP-12-Welcome football pic1

The project in brief

Implemented by

Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network (MYAN)

Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY)




2017 - 2019


In 2015, the Australian Government announced an increase of 12,000 resettlement places in response to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

To ensure successful resettlement and integration, these new Australians need targeted support to acquire the necessary knowledge, skills and networks to rebuild their lives in Australia and facilitate opportunities to contribute to and participate in their local community. Equally, it is necessary to support local host communities to welcome and positively engage with new members of the community.

Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) recognises that sport is an important and effective tool for building welcoming, inclusive and socially cohesive communities and engaging young people, especially young people who are newly arrived to Australia.


Welcome Football was designed by CMY using the universal appeal of football to engage with newly-arrived families, build connections between these families and the broader local community, and build youth leadership and employability using people’s skills. This facilitates the settlement and integration process by supporting young people to make new friends, engage with their local community and develop life and employability skills through the enjoyment of sport.



Project aims 

Welcome Football strives to:

  • Utilise sport to build social cohesion
  • Increase young people’s access and participation in sport and recreation, promote engagement in their local community and increase their social connections.
  • Provide newly arrived parents/families with knowledge of local services and opportunities to participate in their local community.
  • Provide young people with opportunities for professional development/capacity building and leadership, and increased employability.
  • Create a more inclusive and responsive sports sector that understands and responds to the needs of refugee and migrant young people and their families.
  • Increase the local community’s awareness of, engagement with and acceptance of newly arrived refugee communities.
  • Use sport as a tool to create welcoming and inclusive communities.


Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY)

Main activities of the Good Practice

Regular in-school and after-school football programs

  • School holiday programs
  • Youth leadership and skills development Community Champions program
  • Support for participants to register for local clubs
  • Capacity building for local, community sporting groups
  • Support for parents/families to understand and engage with local clubs

Young volunteers aged 16 to 30 are recruited as ‘Community Champions’ by CMY to deliver the program to newly arrived young refugees in the local community. The volunteers receive free training on coaching, leadership and project management to help run the Welcome Football program.

The Community Champions include young people from recently arrived backgrounds, as well as those who have grown up in Australia.


They play important roles promoting the program’s activities throughout their communities and co-delivering the football sessions.

The school holiday program delivered by Community Champions includes a range of football activities for young people and provides opportunities for parents to meet new people from the wider community. A key component of the school holiday program has been to promote local football clubs, encouraging and supporting young people to join programs offered by these clubs for the upcoming football season.

Parents are also encouraged to engage with these local football clubs, alongside their children, through volunteering as referees, coaches etc., to increase their local connections and their social networks.

Results of the Good Practice

Between 2017 and 2019,Welcome Football has:

  • Engaged 494 young people in the program
  • Delivered 42 school sessions with seven schools
  • Delivered 27after-school sessions at venues across the local government area, City of Hume
  • Trained 15 Community Champions in leadership and coaching
  • Delivered two school holiday programs in January 2018 and 2019 with 56 young people
  • Supported 60 individuals with club registration for the 2018 and 2019 seasons with five local clubs
  • Supported participants and their families to engage with their local clubs leading into the new season
  • Held the Welcome Football Cup to celebrate the cultural diversity of the local council area (City of Hume and surrounds) As a result of Welcome Football:
  • Local football clubs have seen an increase in participant numbers from the Syrian and Iraqi community
  • Families have been supported to participate in, and contribute to, the local community through joining local football clubs
  • Newly arrived young people have gained qualifications, employability skills and experience, including coaching and refereeing qualifications from Football Victoria.
  • Young people have broadened their social connections with other local young people and grown in confidence through participation in regularWelcome Football activities
  • Young people have broadened their knowledge of opportunities and services available to them in Australia, including volunteering and employment opportunities with Football Victoria competitions, A-League clubs (Melbourne City and MelbourneVictory) as well as CMY’s wider youth leadership programs. Welcome Football was nominated as one of three finalists in the ‘Sports Leadership’ category of the national Australian Migration and Settlement Awards 2019



Nadine Liddy, National Manager, Centre for Multicultural Youth (CMY) /Multicultural Youth Advocacy Network Australia (MYAN)