Australia launches player career support service

Football Federation Australia and partners have launched a player support services program, My Football Career, designed to empower players to be proactive life/career managers who are encouraged to be career informed and to pursue continual professional development. The program is not only aimed at the current Socceroos and A-League players, but also elite youth and female footballers who have unique challenges in relation to their professional development.

Comprehensive support services can be accessed through the My Football Career website (www.myfootballcareer.com.au) which includes information related to career management, networking, learning and development, lifestyle management and financial planning and management.

A Player Advisory Panel is being formed to facilitate dialogue between young, up-and-coming, footballers and older, more established, professional and national team players. In addition special coaching courses are being held to assist current players gain the necessary accredited qualifications to allow them to stay involved with the sport when their playing career ends.

The program is supported by the Professional Footballers Association, Relationships Australia, Relate NZ, the Australian Sports Commission through the National Athlete Career and Education Program and the National Australia Bank.

Former Socceroo and now Central Coast Mariners defender Tony Vidmar hopes the next generation of professional footballers will benefit greatly from the initiative. "When I first went overseas I never had this sort of support group behind me that could advise you on your decision making. Basically, a lot of players went into the deep end and wondered whether they had made the right choice or not. Now the younger players have a support group around them to help them make the decisions which are best for them," he said.

"When I was growing up it was always something that I though was very important in the women's game. Because we (female footballers) don't earn a lot of money it's really important that the learning and player development as well as the financial planning programs equip our elite players not only for a football career but also life," said Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury.

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