Former Adelaide United captain Travis Dodd hopes the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy’s new soccer component is the first step towards his dream of a full-time indigenous soccer academy.
Casual coffee encounters with an old Adelaide United buddy sparked an idea that is now the passionate pursuit of the Socceroos’ first indigenous goalscorer, Travis Dodd.
Dodd is the ambassador for the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy’s new soccer component.
Based at the Klemzig home of MetroStars, where Dodd, 39, is the assistant NPL coach, the initiative was announced on Saturday by Premier Steven Marshall and Education Minister John Gardner.
Dodd hopes it is the first step towards his dream of a full-time indigenous soccer academy where SAASTA students train for soccer while completing their SA Certificate of Education.
“I can’t take all the credit; Dom Rinaldo (former Adelaide United media manager and now radio announcer) has helped me out quite a bit,’’ said Dodd, a health banker for NAB.
The Government has committed $100,000 over two years to establish SAASTA’s Aboriginal Football Academy for students in Years 10, 11 and 12. Mr Marshall said the academy would “potentially open the door to local or even worldwide opportunities”.
Program leaders will include Adelaide Uni’s WNPL star Evelyn Goldsmith, Croydon Kings under-18s’
coach and Brahma Lodge midfielder Steven Pepper and MetroStars player Sean Henderson. “There’s a strong element and focus around education,” Dodd said.
“Kids have to be going to school and making a go of it to be eligible.”
Dodd said soccer is well behind the AFL when it comes to engaging the indigenous population.
The AFL’s Players Association said in May there were 84 male and 13 female indigenous players in
Dodd was not aware of similar statistics for soccer leagues.