“I joined the Indigenous Football Australia council to share my life experience in sport and business to help others on a similar journey. I am looking forward to learning from other experts who are on the council. But most of all it is about the young people and giving them the best opportunity to achieve their dreams.”
While Goodes has rarely – if ever – spoken about the AFL since his retirement, he has occasionally opened up on his lifelong affinity for soccer, and once revealed he did not miss a moment of Alessandro Del Piero’s magical two-year stint at Sydney FC, which coincided with his final years at the Swans.
“I even left [former Sydney Swans player] Benny McGlynn’s engagement party at the Clovelly Hotel halfway through,” he told a Fox Sports podcast two years ago when he was announced as a patron of the John Moriarty Program.
“The boys were like, ‘where are you going?’ I said, ‘Del Piero’s playing Adelaide tonight at the footy stadium, I’ve got to go watch.’ That’s just the passion and love that I have for the game, when these greats of the world come to Australia to play, albeit in the twilight years – for me, it’s incredible just to see the best.
“Here in Australia, we’re starting to develop some of the best players in the world – and what I want to see is some of those best players in the world being Indigenous players.”
IFA is not directly connected to Football Australia, which last year launched its own National Indigenous Advisory Group headed by ex-Socceroo Jade North. But John Moriarty Football is Australia’s longest-running and most successful Indigenous soccer initiative and has expanded across the country in recent years after starting out in Borroloola, the remote community where Moriarty was born.
Also on the majority-Indigenous IFA council are Goodes’ Waverley Old Boys teammate Craig Foster, ABC journalist and presenter Stan Grant, current A-League Women players Gema Simon, Allira Toby and Jada Whyman, and Danny Townsend, the chief executive of the A-Leagues.
“The diversity and strengths of this Indigenous-led Council are unparalleled,” Moriarty said. “Each member is more than a symbolic appointment. They all bring unique, lived experience plus skills, aligned values and goals for Indigenous football in Australia. Each member is committed to creating tangible, equitable and lasting change.”
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