The three-day football festival was hosted by One Goal, AFC and local not-for-profit organisation Football United at Sydney Olympic Park's Hockey Centre. The Festival held a sidelines tournament to the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in which the 150 youth participants were part of teams representative of those competing in AC2015.
From over 50 different cultural backgrounds, the youth themselves represented Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America as well as Australian-born and Indigenous Australian--proving that football is the code that brings us all together.
Here are some of our favourite photos and moments from the Dream Asia Unity Football Festival:
Horia (back left) heard about the festival on Facebook and immediately tagged all her friends to come along and volunteer - what a champion!
Peter, 13, (pictured right) came along with his cousin. He said the vibe at the festival was “friendly” and everyone was “just here to have fun”.
Groups of players were able to register as a team, while individual players were welcome to register and be assigned a team.
Alistair volunteered as a football coach for young Indigenous Australian kids in the Northern Territory for a year before he was offered a paid position with the John Moriarty Football Foundation.
“Football has given me so many opportunities,” says Alistair. “I just want to make sure other kids have the chance too.”
Volunteer and coach of the Kuwait boys team Rusty (pictured left) jokes “I’m the best coach! Seriously …”
Hanna, (pictured right) relaxes outside the arena with her friend, in between matches.
Yunus, 14, has dreams of becoming an A-League player. He has a conviction and confidence beyond his years, saying “If I believe in myself, I can do it”.
A visit from former Matilda Sarah Walsh was inspiring for the young players.
Volunteer youth leaders kept everyone in line throughout the festival. Not an easy task with over 150 kids running around!
The winning boys team for the Unity Football Festival – Palestine!
Making a difference for the community is a family affair for this volunteer Jacqui and her brother.
Zaid relocated recently to Australia from Palestine. He said of the three-day football festival: “This is the best time I’ve had since moving here.” He was also super excited to represent his country of origin in the tournament, as goal-keeper on the winning Palestine team.