Disadvantaged migrants and refugees can play soccer after Laverton Park Soccer Club received a community grant. The Hobsons Bay Community Fund allocated $3,000 to recruit young soccer players, particularly those from migrant and refugee backgrounds who are now living in the Laverton and Altona Meadows area.

Club vice-president Jason Curatolo said the grant has allowed many more young peolple to play soccer, noting that without the grant they might not have been able to afford the fees.

Originally, the Laverton Park Soccer Club was built by members of Melbourne’s Chilean community, but it has now expanded to take in players of many different national heritages, including members of Melbourne’s Colombian, Ethiopian, Greek, Italy, Lebanon, Macedonian, Maltese, Mauritian, and Somali communities.

“The funds have allowed us to buy more equipment and increase the number of junior teams from five to nine. This included extra under-7 and under-9 teams, making two for each of those grades, in addition to the under-11, under-13 and under-14 teams.” – Hayden Raysmith

“It’s pleasing to see young kids from migrant and refugee backgrounds being given a chance to play sport. Child obesity is a problem in Australia, so keeping kids active is important,” Mr Raysmith said. “We know the assimilation difficulties faced by people who arrive in Australia from under-developed countries, but sport can break down these social barriers.”

“The Laverton Park Soccer Club has shown leadership in expanding from its traditional Chilean base to welcome people from other nationalities, particularly from the African region.”