Australia’s most decorated Indigenous Footballer Jade North, has announced the launch of his inaugural “Kickin With A Cuz” football program, will commence Tuesday 20th June 2017, in conjunction with the Wollongong Wolves Football Club and Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council in the Illawarra.
A year in the making, North a former Socceroo said, “Kickin with a Cuz football program is a not-for-profit initiative designed to reach young boys and girls through football, with a vision to create a sustainable pathway and outcomes centred around enabling kids to make better life choices.
“There will be a strong focus on indigenous and disadvantaged communities in an effort to open up new football pathways as I firmly believe utilising sport and community are the perfect avenues to reinforce education, health and responsibility to our next generation and this is exactly what ‘Kickin With A Cuz’ is all about.”
North, who currently plays for the Brisbane Roar has represented Australia at all levels of football, Under 17s (Joeys), Under 20s (Young Socceroos), Under 23s (Olyroos) and the senior national team (Socceroos).
Head of the program Jade North said, “The program includes individual skills development combined with strategic teamwork challenges, leadership and responsibility to give kids a great, fun and positive introduction to football.
“The program sessions expand to include the importance of regular school attendance and education, community engagement, health, culture, future pathways and where applicable, closing the gap.” explained North
The program will be launched at the Wollongong Wolves Juniors Home Ground, Albert Butler Oval, Kemblawarra and sessions will be held on Tuesday 20th, Wednesday 21st and Thursday 22nd of June.
Local Illawarra primary schools have been invited to attend and there is no cost involved for participation.
Jade will be joined by representatives from the Wollongong Wolves, the Illawarra Stingrays and the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council to assist in facilitating the initiative.
ILALC, CEO, Paul Knight commented, “Having Jade launch ‘Kickin With A Cuz’ with us is a huge coup for the Illawarra.
“These are exactly the types of initiatives we are looking to promote through our partnership with the Wollongong Wolves.
“Jade is a great ambassador for football and alongside his outstanding career he is an exceptional indigenous role model for kids.
“Through his journey and experiences, he will inspire our young kids, using sport to deliver important, valuable life lessons that will benefit not only our kids but our entire community.
“It’s all about being proactive and delivering initiatives that give our kids options and make them think.”
Wolves First Grade Coach, Jacob Timpano who will also be involved in the upcoming clinics commented, “Jade’s standing in football speaks for itself. The program he has put together is one of the most comprehensive and impressive I’ve ever come across.
“Jade uses football to engage and entertain the kids and through this delivers really important social and community messages in a fun, inclusive environment.
“Kickin With A Cuz is going to be a very valuable and popular program for a long, long time.”
Following the launch of the program in the Illawarra, the former Socerroo will roll out Kickin With A Cuz right across Australia.
The program will target not only the major and metropolitan regions of the country but more importantly, regional and remote communities will benefit immensely from the programs outcomes.
“We’re currently looking to further engage corporate and community partners to be enable delivery of ‘Kickin With A Cuz’ to as many regions and communities as we possibly can.” North Said.
“This is a fantastic program, for boys and girls. We want to deliver real change in communities and we aim to reach as many kids as we possibly can. The outcomes delivered through this program will make a huge difference across all our communities in the same way football changed my life.
“I’ve been really impressed with how the Wollongong Wolves and the Illawarra Local Aboriginal Land Council have partnered together in other initiatives, which is why it made perfect sense to me to launch my program in conjunction with them.”
Albert Butler Oval, Kemblawarra, is being developed by the Wolves and the ILALC into a major sporting community hub for the Illawarra and South Coast. Being able to attract programs such as Kickin With A Cuz is a priority for both organisations.
Community initiatives and engagements will be a major focal point for the future with significant additional announcements expected.
Timpano concluded by saying, “Kickin with A Cuz is something I’m really looking forward to being involved with. The Land Council have been strong supporters, the Wolves have got right behind it and the Illawarra Stingrays have thrown in their support to show how important we believe Jade’s program is.
“I have no doubt that eventually, as a direct result of ‘Kickin with A Cuz’ we will see growth in the numbers of indigenous kids playing football from right across our community.
“You wait and see, we’ll get a future Socceroo out of this program”.