I extend a warm welcome to you for being with us today at Salesian College Chadstone.
Womenjika. I acknowledge the First Peoples and the Traditional Owners and custodians of the Country on which Salesian is located. I respectfully acknowledge our Elders past, present and emerging and remember that they have passed on their wisdom to us in various ways.
Today is an exciting day for Salesian College Chadstone as we enter into our school partnership with Liverpool Football Club through its International Academy program.
We are grateful and proud to become the first school in metropolitan Melbourne to offer an exclusive Liverpool FC Academy high-performance soccer school program.
I stand here today, still in some disbelief, that as a boy who grew up experiencing joy (and the occasional disappointment) as a Liverpool FC supporter is now partnering with one of the world’s great sport clubs. Watching titles and trophies being won and lost; including the memorable 2019 Champions League finals and Premier League success in 2019-2020 highlight Liverpool FC’s endearing qualities of tenacity, teamwork and commitment; traits we are trying to instill in our students at Salesian.
In keeping with the spirit of Saint John Bosco, whereby “education is largely a matter of the heart” that leads people to “know that they are loved”, the Salesian community of today is a home that welcomes, a parish that evangelises, a school that prepares for life and a playground where friends meet and enjoy themselves.
Salesian College Chadstone is a welcoming community renowned for its integrity and creative learning approaches that bring out the best in boys. Holistic learning through a variety of learning opportunities allows our boys to develop into “good Christians and honest citizens”.
Liverpool FC’s commitment to developing a young person’s journey wherever their pathway leads is aligned with our mission and values and this became evident the moment we began discussions with Liverpool FC International Academy. Our discussions began with a high quality and authentic LFC football program but it was the focus on the social and emotional development, career pathways and life skills such as communication, teamwork and leadership that has brought us together today.
What will this look like at Salesian?
Working with the Liverpool FC Head of Football and Technical Director our staff and old collegians will become accredited coaches in the authentic LFC development methodology and philosophy. That process has already begun.
As part of our innovative curriculum, Sports Academy and within the College’s exciting High-Performance sport program for our Associated Catholic Colleges (ACC) competition teams, students will be able to take part in a unique full-time program mirroring the same structure and practices as players on a professional pathway at the Liverpool Academy in the UK. This training and learning, underpinned by core values, will ensure improvement in both technical football skills, socio-emotional literacy and leadership.
Furthermore, early in Term 2 we will expand to offer after school training and holiday programs to all players in the surrounding community.
Those community programs are designed to supplement and complement club training, not work against local clubs with the same authenticity, quality and values led framework as our school high-performance program.
We are delighted to be working with Liverpool FC International Academy to bring this opportunity to our families so each student’s skills and values can contribute to society in a meaningful way. We are also mindful that we have a wonderful opportunity to take this program to the local community, particularly to youth who are disadvantaged so that they too can foster respect, integrity and belonging.
The opportunity for our middle and senior years students to work with ACPE to support their aspirations for careers in professional sport is exciting. Understanding pathway choices and equipping them with the skills and competencies will be advantageous for every boy.
This really is a dream come true for our students and our community – and we are thrilled to be able to extend these training offerings to our broader community.
I extend my gratitude to the fantastic team from Liverpool FC International Academy who in partnership with the Australian College of Physical Education has enabled this partnership to come to life. We acknowledge the genuine friendships created with the Salesian staff to create opportunities for our immediate and broader community. Our alignment of mission and values is strong and we wish to acknowledge the key players who have contributed to today and play a significant role in this partnership. Thank you…
Peter Lee – LFCIA Chairman
Kevin Kalinko – Director of Liverpool FC International Academy Australia and the Australian College of Physical Education
Matthew Challinor – Generak Manager LFCIA
Scott Collis Head of Football Operations LFCIA
Amanda Martin Partnerships Director LFCIA
Kevin Grima, Technical Director LFCIA
Kayla Kourmadias – Marketing Coordinator LFCIA
Thank you, Craig Rodda from DMC, for connecting our two entities and for your ongoing support of Salesian.
I too thank the Salesian College staff; specifically, Stephen Sellwood, Suzie McErvale, Daniel Nguyen and Trudy Skarajew for your efforts to ensure the success of the partnership.
I conclude by sharing an insight into our school and our relationship with Liverpool FC.
I often hear our boys speak kindly of their teachers, that they are supportive and kind. On numerous occasions I have been privileged to listen to boys share that “I feel at home at Salesian as the teachers walk with us as friends”.
Interestingly, singing “You Will Never Walk Alone” amongst 95,000 fans before Steven Gerrard led Liverpool to beat Melbourne Victory in 2013, I had similar feelings as our Salesian students at Chadstone, the same feelings of belonging, respect and community of a family or home.
We therefore enter this partnership as ‘this means more’.