Football Federation Australia (FFA) is joining forces with health and wellness program AIA Vitality to launch a new grassroots football initiative for Australian kids.
‘AIA Vitality MiniRoos’ provides boys and girls aged 4 – 11 years with a fun introduction to the world game.
Designed for kids of all abilities, the nation-wide initiative uses short, game-based sessions to introduce the sport of football to newcomers in an inclusive way. It focuses on learning new skills, being active, making life-long friends and, potentially, unearthing the next generation of Socceroos or Matildas.
AIA Vitality MiniRoos will be run in conjunction with junior football clubs and schools across Australia.
Speaking at today’s launch, AIA Vitality MiniRoos Ambassador and former Socceroo Brett Emerton said that AIA Vitality MiniRoos is the perfect way for kids and parents to be introduced to the game of football.
"I still remember playing football for the first time as a kid growing up in Macquarie Fields and completely falling in love with the game. You can see the happiness that football brings to these kids too when you look at the smiles on their faces as they play today,” said Brett
“As parents, my wife Sarah and I want our boys to have fun while playing football, make new friends and get into the habit of being active and healthy. That’s what MiniRoos is all about. It’s not just about creating players for the future," he said.
Today’s launch comes as record numbers of Australians are taking up football, with an estimated 1.97 million participants. 193,000 boys and girls took part in grassroots football in 2014, an increase of five per cent from 2013. An estimated 220,000 children are expected to take part in AIA Vitality MiniRoos this year, which will be delivered by over 1,600 local football clubs.
The inaugural naming rights sponsor of the MiniRoos is AIA Vitality, a health and wellness program offered by life insurer AIA Australia. The program aims to influence behaviour related to chronic disease and obesity by using incentives and rewards, such as discounts on gyms, healthy food, shopping, entertainment and travel purchases, to encourage people to adopt and sustain healthy behaviours.
FFA CEO David Gallop said the program comes at an ideal time for football’s growth in Australia.
“There’s no doubt that the game is on a strong growth trajectory at the moment.” said Gallop.
“MiniRoos is a great way to introduce kids and parents to the game of football.
“In addition, the partnership with AIA Vitality will provide a huge boost to the health of football at the grassroots level and indeed the community more broadly.” he said.
AIA Australia Chief Executive Officer Damien Mu believes AIA Vitality MiniRoos can have a huge impact on the long term health of children, parents and, ultimately, families across Australia.
“Nothing is more important to a parent than the health and wellbeing of their son or daughter. It provides the foundation for them to grow into healthy adults in future, and to achieve the most out of their lives.
“As a life insurer, we see first-hand the impact that poor health can have on the community and on quality of life, both for children and adults. By supporting the health of thousands of kids across Australia through one of the fastest growing sports in Australia, establishing healthy habits, we can play our part in addressing Australia’s preventative health crisis,” he said.
For more information on the AIA Vitality MiniRoos, visit www.miniroos.com.au/