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100 lucky children have experienced an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet World Cup level soccer team players as they learnt ball skills from some of Brazil’s most famous soccer exports as part of the Woodlea Soccer Clinic, held over the weekend.
Held on Sunday 4 October in South Yarra’s Fawkner Park and jointly hosted by the Tour of Hope, the Woodlea Soccer Clinic welcomed young people of all skills and abilities, aged between 7 and 15 years old, to take part in an engaging training session and build skills, speed and strength with the elite soccer players.
The players, Mineiro (ex-Brazil National Team World Cup, Chelsea FC, Hertha Berlin), Elivelton (ex-Brazil National Team World Cup, Nagoya Grampus Japan), Kelly (ex-Atletico Brazil, FC Tokyo Japan, Logrones Spain), Paulo Sergio (ex-Brazil National Team World Cup, Bayern Munich), Fabio (ex-Ponte Preta, Porto Alegre), Felipe (ex-Sao Paulo, Atletico Juventus) and Paulo Cruz (ex Flamengo with Zico), have each gained public recognition in their country after shining both in national and international teams.
The children were invited by Melbourne’s most progressive masterplanned community, Woodlea, in Melbourne’s west, to take part in the free clinic, as part of the community’s commitment to delivering first-class sporting facilities to its residents at the 7,000-lot community over the coming years.
The mother of one of the invited children, Ruby Makker said the Woodlea Soccer Clinic was the second event the family had attended through Woodlea, and said she appreciated the lengths the developer had gone to in order to bring the future residents together to interact with each other and form close ties.
“We are starting to see some familiar faces at the Woodlea events so we love the opportunity to meet our future neighbours and create that sense of community.
“These events just create a lovely positive atmosphere and we are very grateful for Woodlea’s commitment to fostering this sense of community right from the beginning.
“We actually remember some of the Brazilian soccer players from when they used to play so it was such a lovely surprise to be invited to come along today,” she said.
As for her son, eight-year-old Shiv, meeting the players was the experience of a lifetime.
“ I’m most excited to learn dribbling skills, I like soccer but I currently play football so I just want to get out there and meet the players and learn from them,” he said before the clinic.
The event was officiated by the Minister for Emergency Services, Jane Garrett, who said it was fantastic to see children of all ages interact with their soccer heroes and gain insight into the dedication and determination of the players to reach their sporting goals.
“Community sport brings us together, it’s part of our cultural fabric and it plays an important role in social inclusion in our diverse community.”
“Sport at the grassroots level is something we need to support and promote, and events like these bring huge benefits to children wanting to play sport.”
Woodlea Project Director Matthew Dean said the experience was a moment the children would remember for the rest of their lives.
“Not many children in Australia get the opportunity to meet world-famous Brazilian soccer players so we are thrilled to be a part of this fun, community-focused initiative.”
“Our vision is to create a vibrant community at Woodlea that future residents will be excited and proud to be part of. We believe that connecting people through sport and recreational activities helps to remove social barriers and makes the community stronger, which is why we were so thrilled to put on this great event.
“Woodlea has the ambition to foster sporting aspirations and raise awareness about the benefits of living a healthy and active lifestyle.
“Since the launch of the project, we have put a strong focus on providing extensive sport and educational amenities as part of our plan to develop a richer community,” said Dean.
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