Sydney FC Helps Football Unite With Harmony Day

Football was the common language on Saturday night when kids from Football United visited Allianz Stadium as part of the annual Harmony Day celebrations.

Football was the common language on Saturday night when kids from Football United visited Allianz Stadium as part of the annual Harmony Day celebrations.

Football United players and coaches had the opportunity to meet the players and head out onto the pitch as part of the pre-game ceremony.

Outside the stadium, Brazilian, Chinese and Senegalese musicians and dancers contributed to a carnival-like atmosphere in the precinct before the game, while 80 children carried flags from their home countries into the stadium.

The Football United song "Field Of Dreams" was also played inside and outside the stadium while there were small sided games and a sausage sizzle to keep fans entertained.

The Football United program, which began in 2006, brings together nearly 800 kids from over 70 different nationalities to use football as a tool for social development.

One youngster that benefited from the program is Ahmed Thafer, who signed up shortly after immigrating from his native Iraq.

The 21-year-old, who cites Sydney FC midfielder and fellow Iraqi Ali Abbas as his role model, has graduated to the role of assistant coach, and believes the program has improved his confidence and leadership abilities.

"Football United is about bringing everyone together to have fun, and it's a common language through football. It gave me confidence and gave me the opportunities," said Thafer.

"He [Abbas] is a role model to me - he's from Iraq and he made it up to this level. It's amazing."

Thafer, from Minto in Sydney's west, is adjusting to a role-reversal, now acting as a role model to the kids in the program. Their excitement is something he thrives on.

"They've been asking me "when are we gonna play" all the way here - that's a one hour drive!" he said.

"Abbas came to their school and he surprised them. They were so happy - you should have seen their faces and their reactions to seeing Ali Abbas."

You can donate or get involved in Football United programs by visiting their website by clicking here