It’s often referred to as ‘the world game’, and in the case of One Culture Football, this is particularly apt.
Offering an opportunity for young people of diverse cultures and backgrounds to make meaningful connections with others while burning off some energy, One Culture Football (soccer) is a not-for-profit organisation and registered NDIS provider helping young people live healthier lifestyles, increase their wellbeing and develop confidence.
Nader Ibrahim is a founding member, along with Joshua Smith and Igor Negrao. Born in Egypt, Nader migrated to Australia in 2009 and has years of experience in community and youth services.
“We all had full-time jobs but left them to start this organisation. We have a passion for the game and understood that it could bring people together in a good way,” said Nader.
One Culture Football started with a group of around 15 boys, and now has around 500 people participating in the multicultural and inclusive programs that run in the city and suburbs.
“A lot of people can’t fit within other sporting groups because of cultural, language or financial barriers and they just want to find a place where they can play football and meet people.”
The organisation also encourages its participants to become leaders. George Duodu started playing after school and it soon became obvious that he was both a natural leader and well respected among the African community.
“I heard about One Culture Football at school and started coming regularly and getting to know people. Through social media we started growing – we now have 1,100 Facebook followers and 1,500 Instagram followers. I was offered a part-time job because of the passion and loyalty I showed toward One Culture,” said George.
“I currently run a program in the City of Adelaide and one in Playford. I really enjoy meeting and talking to new people – getting to know their different backgrounds and cultures.”
Inspired by one of the SA Police African engagement offers who attended a previous tournament, George is also undertaking police studies at University.
The One Culture Football Disability LinkUp program offers people with a disability an opportunity to play football in an inclusive environment. Cassie Griffith’s son Lachlan has been participating for about two years.
“It’s helped improve his social skills. He also loves soccer and wants to grow up to be a coach or referee,” Cassie said.
“Everyone accepts him at One Culture Football and he’s made friends which makes him feel so special. They all include each other and have fun learning new skills while also learning to cope and deal with different situations that arise.
“I can’t thank the coaches enough for all the help and support they’ve given me.”
Naomi Willis’ two children, Brodie and Tyler, have also found new friendships through One Culture Football.
“The effect on our family has been amazing. We’ve become a soccer family, keen to be involved in the many opportunities created by One Culture Football,” Naomi said.
“Our kids have become stronger, fitter and more confident and are learning about fair play, friendship and independence. We’ve never been involved in a program so suited to the needs of people living with a disability.”
Earlier this year, One Culture Football won the Champions of Inclusion Award at the City of Adelaide Sports Awards. The City of Adelaide has also provided funding through its ‘Recreation and Sport – Programs’ grant to enable One Culture to continue operating in the city.
“One Culture Football to me was a dream and I look forward to waking up every day and coming to work. I go home happy because of the positive impact we’re making on all the boys and girls who come along,” Nader said.
If you’d like a One Culture Football coach to visit your school or community, or want to find out how or where you can get involved, contact them at oneculturefootball.org or at facebook.com/oneculturefootballadelaide
For information on Council funding opportunities available to eligible clubs, groups and organisations visit: cityofadelaide.com.au/recreation-sport-grants