City to lead in Player Welfare with commencement of new program lead
Brisbane City FC are set to make a giant leap forward in regards to player welfare by introducing experienced Youth Worker Damon Millard as Player Welfare Manager.
With few clubs maintaining a dedicated Youth Welfare Manager, the development of this position will ensure that Brisbane City FC will become an Australian leader in Player Welfare as the Club bids to join the Hyundai A-League.
Damon – who has a decade of experience as a pastor and chaplain – will work with the club’s youth players to ensure that all Brisbane City players have the necessary support to succeed in their future endeavours – either as a professional athlete or away from sport entirely.
“I’ve been working in that crucial age where kids are getting serious in their schooling and getting serious about their future.” Damon said.
“Coupling that now with my passion for sport is really good, really exciting for me.”
With several family members playing sport at the highest level, Damon understands more than most the challenges young men and women face when embarking on a career in the sporting world.
“I’ve see the pitfalls of sport constantly,” Damon explains. “I’ve seen the ups and downs, I’ve seen family members go through injury and setbacks and I see that side of things really needs to be addressed properly by clubs, the welfare of the players is so important.”
Damon will initially use the experience that he has gained from working with young adults in their late-teenage years before implementing the program across the club as Brisbane City moves into position to launch an A-League bid.
“For me, the short term working in this welfare area and setting this program up, (the late teenage years) will be a big focus because they’re probably at those most critical ages where they’re deciding whether or not football is something they’ll chase after.
“They’re trying to manage that with their schooling and what they’re going to do with their career path and lots of relationships that goes on and the pitfalls of social media… If we can use that as a focus area at 16’s 18’s 20’s as they’re coming into first team football, if we can get their life on track, the football will follow.”
Damon believes that despite the importance of the continued wellbeing of young players and the obligation clubs have to provide this service to their members, it is an area that has been badly neglected. With the implementation of this program, Brisbane City can become a leader in the promotion of player welfare in Australia.
“As the club looks to make a pitch for the A-League, we can be a real frontrunner as far as player welfare because there is a lack of that wellbeing support for our athletes in Australia.” Damon says.
“When you look at it, it’s quite concerning, the lack of support for players that are currently in their field. They’re playing and they’re plying their trade but then there is very little support after playing and for me, proactively there is nothing leading up to (that time).”
“As we’ve investigated this, there is a lack of welfare going on even within football in Australia.
“When we first started, we wanted to try and get up to a certain standard so that it would work towards an A-League pitch, but now we’re seeing that – already as we are establishing this program – that we’re actually frontrunners within Australian football.
“That’s exciting and we hope that this can be a program that can be rolled out right through the club eventually, proactive and not just reactive and that this can be something that the FFA can take and roll out amongst all their clubs and as a result of that we can see better rounded people/adults as they come through the system and beyond and it will only be good for football in Australia.”