Feature

Historic Socceroos donation closes the circle

John Moriarty’s life began in Borroloola, led to Adelaide as one of the Stolen Generation and now the historic donation and demonstration of respect by the Socceroos has brought him full circle, in a sense.

Cahill Indigenous fans

Source: Getty Images



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It closes the loop perfectly in that it is the game that saved him as a young man, and particularly the heroes in green and gold for whom he was once selected, who now provide the impetus for John to change the destiny of his people.

Not just in Borroloola, but right across the country.

The Socceroos have donated to various disaster relief causes, demonstrating their willingness to support community, but this is something much deeper, more profound.

To my knowledge, never has a national team in our sport decided to contribute to a social cause, through an important program like (JMF), to change the destiny of thousands of kids in coming years (and certainly not to such an extraordinary quantum).

It is a very special moment where a group of world class athletes, already loved by their country and in no need of doing anything other than playing winning football and being paid to do so, decided to take action by displaying a strong social conscience to give back to the game, and the country.

We can and should all be very proud of what the Socceroos did. Very few national teams of any sport will show such kindness, social awareness and generosity.

Socceroos pledge fees to John Moriarty Foundation► Caltex Socceroos players have pledged $90,000 of appearance fees from tonight's FIFA World Cup qualifier against Jordan national football team towards the John Moriarty Football foundation, as reported by SBS News. Posted by SBS The World Game on Tuesday, March 29, 2016


 

I know former Socceroos and Matildas will certainly join me in saying well done. Your act reflects well on the profession and makes us all proud, and enhances the brand of football as a sport with a connection between grass roots and the professional level, one with a heart and conscience.

These elements are as important in being called a professional footballer as anything done on the field of play.

It is even more special that John was one of us, a Socceroos squad member, and we are able to bring him back into the fold. This is something we feel very deeply as players, a necessity to protect and support our own.

When we consider how active our tremendous A-League players and our fabulous women are in putting their fame behind social causes, again, it is important to recognise the very high level of conduct our athletes hold themselves to. They are an absolute credit to the sport and it is not necessary to compare ours to other sports to reinforce the point.

Fundraising this week is to expand the JMF program to more indigenous communities, so please get involved, and I see JMF as becoming the umbrella for the thousands of indigenous clubs and communities, all doing important work.

Thus our first representative now becomes the patron. And the game comes together to focus on an aspect we must all admit has been a disappointment. Not enough done.

No recriminations, we all could have done more, just an admission and desire to put it right. We are where we are, let’s get stuck into bringing the beautiful game to our beautiful people.

We can change the destiny of football in this area and this week is an excellent start.

Not only to find indigenous talent, but moreover to use football to help change indigenous Australia and provide a platform to engage the world.



We want to show the world our culture, and there is no better way than through football – Matildas and Socceroos on the international stage and A-League and W-League here and being broadcast around the world.

Just on this, I believe the Socceroos, Matildas and all national teams should carry indigenous motifs on their playing strips and we should incorporate indigenous language and/or music into our anthem played before games everywhere in the world.

I attempted to get an indigenous artist to produce a Socceroos song for Brazil 2014 - perhaps for 2018? What a marvellous, symbolic act of healing and recognition.

The Socceroos are our opportunity to tell our story, of the oldest living culture on earth, and it is our game that should embrace this imperative.

The Socceroos have started the conversation this week, now it’s up to the rest of us to keep it going.

What needs to be done? How can we connect all the programs to provide more integrated support? What does the future look like regarding football and indigenous communities?

There is phenomenal goodwill and passion in this area, let’s harness the community to synthesize the intellect of the football crowd, and get cracking.

If you need any further rationale, check out the kids’ faces last night walking the Socceroos onto the field.

And tell me that is not the changing of destinies.

donate to John Moriarty Football. 


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5 min read
Published 30 March 2016 at 2:07pm
By Craig Foster
Source: SBS