Shipard and Williams discuss alcohol and drugs

Westfield Matildas stars Lydia Williams and Sally Shipard have spent the day instilling some powerful take home messages to the Qantas Young Socceroos about the importance of safer alcohol practices and the risk of using illicit drugs in sport.

During the short time in which the Qantas Young Socceroos assembled for a training camp in Canberra, current Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams and midfielder Sally Shipard delivered the Alcohol education (Club Champions) & Illicit Drug in Sport (IDIS) presentation to the young group of men.

Soon after the IDIS presentation the Qantas Young Socceroos were departing for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to begin their quest for FIFA Youth World Cup qualification, beginning with the U19 2012 AFC Championship Qualifiers.

Sally and Lydia shared with the Qantas Young Socceroos their relevant career pathway stories and instilled some powerful take- home messages about the importance of safer alcohol practices and the risk of using illicit drugs in sport.

Football Federation Australia (FFA) believes that the practice of utilizing peer group player role models to present the education programs will more readily influence the audience they are addressing - made evident throughout the presentation.

Key messages included the responsibilities they now have in terms of representing their country, themselves, each other, the FFA, family and friends.

For the duration of their careers they will come to experience many different cultures and customs, especially qualifying for major tournaments throughout Asia. It is important for all our national teams to be aware of the differences in the customs, beliefs and cultures in which they will compete. The boys were also encouraged to embrace and learn about the cultures including learning simple greetings in foreign languages.

Practical demonstrations were shown to the group by volunteers within the Qantas Young Socceroos squad while Lydia and Sally also elaborated on the effect of alcohol in terms of your recovery and encouraged ways to celebrate responsibly.

As mentors, having been around the national team environment for a considerable amount of time, were able to relate to the youth of the group and share stories reflecting on their time in the national team set up.

The effectiveness of the presentation was highlighted afterwards by Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Verlejin who enjoyed the content and believed it was relevant to all the players in his squad. He also highlighted the importance of mentioning the impact of social networking sites.

“The presentation was a success. Both Lydia and Sally were engaging and had shared some interesting insight and knowledge for the boys to take away.”

“I enjoyed the addition of the social media aspect, I think it is important for the boys to be aware of how unsafe social networks can be.”

Jan Versleijen has selected a squad of 23 players for their upcoming 2012 AFC U-19 Championship Qualifiers which will be held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 31 October - 8 November 2011.

Any queries regarding the programs can be directed to Sally Shipard on sally.shipard@footballaustralia.com.au or Sarah Walsh on sarah.walsh@footballaustralia.com.au or telephone (02) 8040 4000.