SAASTA Aboriginal AFL Academy to China

Thursday, August 27 2015 @ 04:45 pm ACST

Contributed by: Troy Thompson

Port Adelaide, in partnership with the University of South Australia, is delighted to announce the club’s SAASTA Aboriginal AFL Academy team will travel to China in November to take part in a series of cultural initiatives including an exhibition game against Team China, the Chinese national AFL team, in Guangzhou.

The Academy team will travel to China on November 23 for a ten-day trip that will include cultural exchange sessions at local schools, football coaching clinics, an official reception at the Australian Embassy and a visit to the Great Wall of China.

Port Adelaide chief executive Keith Thomas said this excursion, which has been partly funded by UniSA, provides a rare opportunity for the Aboriginal and Chinese cultures to unite.

“As a club we are extremely proud and excited to take the SAASTA Aboriginal AFL Academy to China,” Mr Thomas said.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for the members of this Academy to travel to China and learn about the values and beliefs of another traditional culture.

“Most of these Academy team members haven’t been outside of South Australia and have hardly left their remote communities and now they are heading to China, the world’s most populated country, to share and promote their culture. What an incredible learning experience this promises to be for these students.

“A massive thank you to UniSA for their significant backing of this trip and our Aboriginal Programs in general, as well as EnergyAustralia who are the Principal Partner of our Aboriginal Academy team.”

Professor David Lloyd, Vice Chancellor and President of the University of South Australia, said UniSA were thrilled to partner Port Adelaide on this project.

“This is an extraordinary project which connects and builds on two key areas of the strong collaboration between Port Adelaide and the University: supporting indigenous youth; and building the profile of Australian sport and education in China,” Professor Lloyd said.

Mr Thomas said Port Adelaide’s SAASTA Aboriginal AFL Academy was another example of how football can act as a tool to encourage Aboriginal students to achieve great results.

“Our SAASTA Aboriginal AFL Academy is a program designed to use an elite football product as an incentive for young Aboriginal students to complete their secondary education,” Mr Thomas said.

“Only students who have a proven record of school attendance and academic application will be considered for our football academy and I’m delighted that all students in our current Academy are on track to complete their SACE certificate this year.”

Mr Thomas said the trip to China was a great reward for the Academy team members and works perfectly within Port Adelaide’s two key off-field strategic objectives – Aboriginal community programs and the continual engagement of the Chinese community.

“As a club we have a strong commitment to engage the Chinese community here in South Australia but also in China itself,” Mr Thomas said.

“Over the last couple of years we’ve introduced a number of initiatives in China including the sponsorship of Team China and the local Southern China AFL competition.

“And just recently we wore a Chinese-themed guernsey in the AFL Multicultural Round with both the Chinese and Australian national flags displayed on the front and the player’s name in Chinese characters on the back.

“We see our Academy team’s excursion to China as the perfect alignment of these two important club strategies.”

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