AFL's New Push On Multicultural Coaches
Monday, July 04 2016 @ 11:17 am ACST
Contributed by: Wesley Hull
The following article by Nathan Schmook at www.afl.com.au looks at another AFL initiative in line with next weekend’s Multicultural Round. With the appointment of coaches from a diverse collection of multicultural backgrounds it is hoped that an even higher profile for Australian Rules football be raised within multicultural communities as well as bringing a wide range of skill sets to clubs at the highest level, filtering down to grass roots levels of the game.
The AFL Multicultural Round commences on Thursday 7th July and encompasses AFL matches through to Sunday 10th. For details on events for the 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round, go to their website at: http://www.afl.com.au/multiculturalround
THE AFL is taking on the next frontier in football diversity by launching a program to place six multicultural coaches within clubs for the rest of the season.
The idea, which was developed in conjunction with the AFL Coaches' Association, has been brought to life by St Kilda, Essendon, Greater Western Sydney, Carlton, the Brisbane Lions and Sydney Swans.
The clubs have each taken on one amateur coach from community football, with the successful candidates coming from Korean, Chinese, African, Vietnamese and Middle Eastern backgrounds.
As part of the pilot program, which will be assessed at the end of the year, the coaches will be spending one training day at their clubs during the week, as well as match days.
AFL football operations manager Mark Evans said if the program was deemed successful by the clubs and participants it would expand significantly in 2017.
"The big picture is the AFL's desire to make sure it is representative of all of Australia and it has a lens towards diversity," Evans told AFL.com.au.
"The participants of the game, the officials, the coaches and the administrators all need to reflect that.
"We think this is a great opportunity to accelerate the development of all of these people who will then inspire a new range of community to come to and enjoy our game."
The AFL has recognised a significant gap between the number of amateur and elite-level coaches with a multicultural background and the general community.
Only 10 per cent of community football coaches were born overseas, while 15 per cent have one parent who was born overseas.
"The insight of coaching and umpiring and football administration at the higher end is quite difficult, because the normal pathway is that you've come from a very strong footballing background," Evans said.
"So if we have the ability to accelerate the development of the people who are well placed, I just think that's a brilliant opportunity we shouldn't miss."
The AFLCA has an aspirational vision for the program that it will accept 36 new coaches each year on 12-month internships.
CEO Mark Brayshaw said the AFL's 18 senior coaches supported the initiative as a way to increase the popularity of the game among new Australians.
"We have a vision that, in a few years time, at the end of each footy season 36 coaches with a multicultural background will leave the bosom of the 18 AFL clubs, go out into their communities and coach their own team," Brayshaw told AFL.com.au.
"That's the vision, and (AFL CEO) Gillon McLachlan has made clear that's an important consideration for the AFL because of the changing demographics of the country.
"We hope this can be an important contribution the coaches make to the overall health and well-being of our game in the long run."
To apply for the program, applicants needed to be coaching at youth to senior level, hold a Level One AFL Coach Accreditation and to have been born, or to have at least one parent born, in a country from the Middle East, Africa or Asia.
The multicultural criteria are consistent with the AFL’s Next Generation Academies program, which could also present a career pathway for coaches once they leave their AFL clubs.
"We need to create role models and a pathway for multicultural people to see themselves in the game, particularly in coaching," AFL diversity manager Ali Fahour said.
"When you see them on TV, in the coach's box, on the bench, in the huddle, people might see themselves out there and they'll become role models for people of their background."
All clubs at all levels of the game can participate in the 2016 Toyota AFL Multicultural Round by being involved in community events at local clubs (check with your own club or league for details), or simply acknowledging the place of multiculturalism in the game pre-match by giving a mention as players enter the field.
By mentioning the backgrounds of Lin Jong, Majak Daw, Jason Johannisen, Conor McKenna, Mason Cox, Mike Pyke, Alex Jesaulenko, Peter Daicos, the Silvagni family and many more players from diverse multicultural backgrounds it will raise the awareness of the rich heritage the game has had historically and will have in the future.