Renowned for his full-blooded commitment in the hurly-burly of the midfield engine-room, Glory skipper Jacob Burns has always been equally determined to make a difference off the field.
Renowned for his full-blooded commitment in the hurly-burly of the midfield engine-room, Glory skipper Jacob Burns has always been equally determined to make a difference off the field. And as part of that ambition to give something back to the game that has provided him with an illustrious 17-year career, he has now launched an outdoor, six-aside football competition in conjunction with Subiaco AFC. Perth Glory Online caught up with the former Socceroo to find out what the competition is all about and why Burns believes it will help grow the game here in WA.
Perth Glory Online: Jacob, what prompted you to get involved in organising this competition?
Jacob Burns: It's something I've been mindful of as a player ever since I went to play over in Europe where football is a top tier sport. Football in those countries is on every page of the newspaper, on tv every night and as a result, kids are just exposed to so much more of the game. It's evident in kids of a young age that their technical ability and awareness and appreciation of the game is far greater. It was something that I thought about even before I came back to Australia after a decade overseas. Firstly, I considered what I could put back into the game as a player and that was to try and help an A-League club push for titles and to be a mentor for younger players. Secondly, I wanted to help in some way to get more kids involved, to get more facilities and just more ways for the game to be played. This competition does that.
PGO: You're keen to emphasise that it's an outdoor six-aside competition that will be played on grass. Why is that important?
JB: As a kid, I was involved in all the indoor games and that kind of thing, but here in Perth with our climate and the great surfaces we have, why can't we have reduced format games outdoors? It's an opportunity for players not to have to have five or six months off from outdoor football on grass during the summer. The game is designed to replicate standard 11-aside outdoor football with the grass surface, real goals, normal size balls and so on. It's as much like the full-size game as possible. I hope I can grow it and people realise we can play the game outdoors on grass all year round and have fun with it.
PGO: The competition will be taking place at Subiaco's Rosalie Park home. What's your connection with the club?
JB: My kids have been part of the Subiaco AFC set-up for the past three years and I've got to know the club through them and recognised how well it's run and how great the facilities are. The progress they've made as a club has been reflected in their successful application for the new National Premier League and it seemed like a really good starting point for me to roll out this competition. Subiaco have been fantastic in the support that they've given me.
PGO: Is there any coaching involved?
JB: No, none at all. It's a fun competition, that's the focus. There's no training with it, it's just a chance for people of all ages to get out there one day a week with their friends and just play the game. As a kid I picked up a lot of my best attributes playing backyard football with my mates and I want my kids to enjoy playing the game just like I did with no pressure, just getting lots of touches on the ball and having fun. All ages and all levels of ability are welcome, guys and girls, from six-year-olds to seniors and masters. They can all come and experience the game that I love and the game that has been my whole life.
PGO:So when does the competition start, how can people get involved and where can they find out more information?
JB: The competition starts on October 28th and will have all age divisions for guys and girls. Each week will be the same time slot for each age division. The kids will play 15 minute halves, while the older youths and adults will play 20 minutes. All the teams get a limited edition kit with my logo on it and will be involved in a finals gala day. There's been great interest so far and places are going to be limited. We've got 70 or 80 players signed up already and registration has only been open for a couple of weeks. Players who want to get involved need to visit www.subiacosoccer.asn.au where there's a dedicated six-aside page with all the info and a schedule, age divisions and so on. And there's also a rego day this Sunday 15th October at Rosalie Park from 10am. That's the same day as Subiaco's gala wind-up, so there'll be plenty of stuff for the kids to get involved with like jumping castles and that kind of thing.
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