Raskills Football: Soccer Change Makers I
Raskills Football in Melbourne, Australia runs football coaching clinics within Early Learning Centres. Check it out on Facebook.
Emma Donovan launched Raskills Football in July, 2016.
fce: What is your background with soccer? And in working with kids?
Emma: I started playing soccer when I was very little, in the backyard with my 3 older brothers back home in New Zealand. I've been playing competitively ever since!
When I finished school I moved to Melbourne, unsure of what do do with my life. I started working casually in an Early Learning Centre and soon found a passion for educating these amazing small humans. I then became full time, studied my certificate and diploma in children's services and went on to stay 6 years.
fce: What led you to starting Raskills Football?
Emma: Combining my 2 passions, educating children and playing soccer seemed like a great idea!
I noticed children in Early Learning Centres were offered specialist classes such as music, art and computers but no sport. There were budgets and allocated timetables for these and it seemed silly that such an important aspect of life was not being promoted. I heard many stories of children heading to school without basic coordination and children joining sports and soon dropping out because they were forced into and didn't enjoy it and of course the childhood obesity rates. I wanted to help change this and introduce sport and exercise in a fun and positive environment where children are invited to join in (it is an optional program) and children from the age of 0 - some not even walking, develop a healthy attitude towards exercise and playing sport that they can take with them and enjoy throughout their life.
fce: Who participates in Raskills Football?
Emma: Children within Early Learning Centres aged from 0-6
fce: How do you know when Raskills was beginning to make an impact?
emma: The feedback from children, parents and educators has been extremely rewarding and evident that the program has an impact. The children come running out of their class screaming "yay soccer time!!" I had children so passionate that their parents had to go out and buy them soccer goals, or start taking them to park. Which was amazing - 2 year olds influencing their parent's to be active!? Parent's commented how their child would walk around the house with a soccer ball and show off new skills they had learnt. Educator's mentioned the excitement the group of children would have before soccer and that even when I was not there they would reenact games.
fce: What are your goals for growing your program?
Emma: I would love for Raskills Football to grow internationally, and to obtain government funding for sports programs within Early Learning Centres.
fce: What can you share that you've learned about football as a way to make an impact?
Emma: If I'm having a good time, the kids are too. I always try to be as involved as possible and share my passion for the game.
It's not only about the physical skills - learning sportsmanship, how to be a team player and a gracious winner are skills just as important and can be used in all areas of life.