Balga Social and Soccer Club pitches for multiculturalism


Heben Michaele, Ramla Dalmar, Kylie Mudra and Ruqayah Hameed represent different cultures with a common purpose.
Heben Michaele, Ramla Dalmar, Kylie Mudra and Ruqayah Hameed represent different cultures with a common purpose.

A MULTICULTURAL women’s soccer academy in Balga has received much-needed support to give young players a chance to play at a community club.

Balga Social and Soccer Club launched their inaugural women’s academy this year, which consisted of 28 players aged from 12 to 21.

Balga trained twice a week and competed in the women metro division three league.

The club gained sponsorship from the Department of Sport and Recreation for the remainder of the season to improve training and resources for the players.

President and head coach Ken Shorto said the academy had girls from many cultures.

“This group is the first year of organised football and learning how to become part of a team and getting more punctuality and organisation,” he said.

“We have got Australians, Africans, Eastern Europeans, Middle Eastern… they are a complete mixture. They love their football and they all have a great attitude.”

Despite being bottom on the ladder and still searching for their first win, Shorto said the girls had fun and improved their skills each week.

“We have struggled all year, to be honest,” he said. “They are very young and they are playing against mature women who have been playing for many years, so they are learning.”

Shorto said the department helped the club financially.

“It means they can become involved in a real club without a big financial cost and we have been able to pay for managers, coaches and things like that at low cost for the girls,” he said.

He said female soccer was the quickest growing sports in Australia and Balga had supported the discipline.

Female teams had been at the club for about 25 years, with many players going on to State League sides.