JGFA announces 2021 soccer scholarship program recipients
[by Gavin Broomhead]
(Back row, l-r): Sander Muskee (JGFA Operations Manager and Senior Coach), Nick Lyth (JGFA coach), Jamie Gosling (JGFA Director of Football), Jaap den Engelsman (Blue Brink Pty Ltd – sponsor) (Front row, l-r): Alex Lawson, Mahalia Martin, William Goman (2021 JGFA Indigenous Scholarship recipients). Image:supplied
Jamie Gosling Football Academy is proud to announce the latest recipients of Far North Queensland’s first ever soccer scholarship program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children.
The 12-month scholarships, which run until December 2021 and are valued at $1,000 each, will see local Indigenous children aged between 6-14 years offered free elite coaching and mentoring at the region’s number one soccer academy.
The program, which began in 2017, has already seen eight Indigenous children successfully complete the year-long scholarships, based at Holloways Beach Sporting Complex.
The three chosen players from 25 applicants in 2021 are Mahalia Martin (sponsored by Innate Natural Health Clinic), William Goman (sponsored by Blue Brink Pty Ltd), and Alex Lawson (sponsored by Cairns Colonial Club).
One of the previous recipients – Julianna-Bree Talbot-Cooke – has since made the Under 15 Girls Peninsula representative team, as well as starring for Cairns State High School as they made history by becoming the first Cairns school to qualify for the Bill Turner Trophy national final.
JGFA will be calling for nominations later in the year from FNQ football clubs and the local football community to identify other talented Indigenous players for 2022, as well as sponsors for the innovative program.
JGFA Director of Football Jamie Gosling said Cairns Colonial Club Resort had already come on board as a sponsor of the program last year, with two further sponsors signing on to help expand the program this year, which are Michelle Caunt from Innate Natural Health Clinic and Jaap den Engelsman from Blue Brink Pty Ltd.
“We’re thrilled to be able to offer this opportunity for junior Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander football players in the Cairns region," said Jamie.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to Cairns Colonial Club Resort, Blue Brink Pty Ltd and Innate Natural Health Clinic for coming on board as program sponsors and helping to make it happen for these amazing kids.
“We’re also hoping to attract extra sponsors next year, so we can provide more Indigenous players the chance to train and play at a higher level.
“When I’m at Endeavour Park on a Saturday watching junior games, I always notice how many talented Indigenous players I see playing football.
"I've also run football programs for Indigenous children at Cairns West State School and have previously held clinics for children from Weipa, and I really enjoy enhancing their love for football. “Often, these children are not offered the same development opportunities other children are through academy programs such as JGFA.
“I’m passionate about making sure kids get equal opportunities, especially those displaying a natural talent for the beautiful game.
“JGFA’s mission is to develop these young players with extra specialist coaching for the ultimate benefit of their local clubs and FNQ football in general.
“We want to develop them as individuals, and ultimately strengthen junior soccer in the region.
“Through this exciting scholarship program, we can offer soccer-mad Indigenous children the chance to develop their game like never before, and will be looking to expand the program in the coming years."
Cairns Colonial Club Resort General Manager Damian Lyth said he was delighted to partner with JGFA on the innovative opportunity for Indigenous children.
“We’re excited to be part of such an awesome program. Great work Jamie and the team at JGFA,” he said.
Parents, guardians, coaches and community members are encouraged to send in applications for interested children for its 2022 program.
Deadline for 2022 applications is Monday 1 November 2021, with successful applicants to be notified early January 2022. Applications can be made at www.jgfa.com.au/indigenous
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