Matildas’ head coach Alen Stajcic was in the tiny town of Borroloola in the Northern Territory this week checking out the Indigenous talent in remote regions.
Mr Stajcic, who heads Australia’s national women’s soccer team, was overseeing a two-day coaching clinic with about 50 Aboriginal children on Wednesday and Thursday.
The children all train under the John Moriarty Football program which is proving a good source of up-and-coming stars.
The JMF program is named after Borroloola-born John Moriarty, the first Aboriginal footballer selected for Australia.
Matildas’ Shadeene Evens, 16, from Borroloola, is the first elite athlete to come from the program. She was scouted at the age of 13 by Stajcic.
Four more young Borroloola and Robinson River athletes have since joined Evens in Sydney to chase their football and education dreams.
“An important part of our mission is allowing these children to become individuals with a clear vision and aspiration so they can see the future themselves,” Mr Moriarty said.
Mr Stajcic said it was his first visit to a remote Aboriginal community.
“Being in a privileged position of coaching a national team, I am extremely proud to have three Indigenous players representing our team and our country,” he said.
“All fantastic ambassadors for football, our country and their culture. I am sure that they, with the help of the JMF, will encourage, embrace and promote even more young Indigenous children to enjoy our wonderful code.”
JMF board member Craig Foster said it was important for Aboriginal children to have the chance to show the world what they can do.
“There is no better place to do so than in a Socceroos or Matildas’ shirt,” he said.