Earlier this month, the Central Coast Mariners officially launched the ‘The Yellow & Navy Foundation’, the not-for-profit arm of Central Coast Mariners, established to provide philanthropic support to aspiring young footballers in the Mariners Academy.
Senior sponsors and local businesses joined Club representatives at Crowne Plaza Terrigal to hear from long time Club identity, passionate player welfare advocate and Foundation Manager, Sharon Baxter, about the foundation’s role in assisting young footballers.
Through her years of involvement with the Central Coast Mariners, Sharon knows first-hand the challenges faced by young footballers taking the leap towards their dream of becoming a professional. From serving up home cooked meals for players living on their own for the first time to assisting with job applications and accommodation, Sharon has a wealth of experience identifying the needs and supports necessary for making sure young players at the Central Coast Mariners feel at home.
The path to becoming a professional footballer can be difficult for young athletes. Juggling training and match commitments with work, study and often living away from home, can easily become a stressful time, financially, emotionally and mentally. The Yellow & Navy Foundation will be responsible for helping break down these barriers for young footballers by offering support in three key areas: jobs & education; player welfare support & community engagement.
The Yellow & Navy Foundation’s mission is to “give youth a chance” both on and off the pitch, creating an environment for young footballers on the Central Coast to be the best they can be.
To date, the Yellow & Navy Foundation has already achieved:
- Assisted 30 players with accommodation who have relocated to the Central Coast
- Fully funded registration fees for Men’s & Women’s NPL First Grade teams
- Provided 50% funding of registration fees for NPL Reserve Grade teams
- Provided support for young players enrolling for tertiary education
- Formed relationships with local charity partners
The Yellow & Navy Foundation are calling on businesses and Central Coast residents to get involved by offering; homestays, employment opportunities, donations or scholarships that will all go towards helping young footballers achieve their dreams.
At the Foundation Launch, Men of Football Central Coast pledged their support by offering the first $1500 Scholarship for the Academy. The Scholarship will go towards funding C License Coaching Courses for players within the Mariners Academy. Men of Football joined inaugural Yellow & Navy Foundation Partners including: Southern Cross Austereo and Pinnacle Construction Group.
Foundation Manager, Sharon Baxter was humbled by the generous support from Men of Football Central Coast and spoke about her passion for giving youth a chance.
“Forming the Yellow & Navy Foundation is something that everyone at the Mariners is incredibly proud of,” Baxter said. “The Central Coast Mariners have always been the Community Club and for us to be able to formalise and increase our community work in the way of a foundation is a big step.
“Not only will the Club increase the fantastic work that’s already happening in the community, the Yellow & Navy Foundation will increase the focus on player welfare at all levels. This focus will ensure that the best young footballers in the country know that the Mariners are creating an environment for players to be the best they can be, regardless of their circumstances.
“The Yellow & Navy foundation will encourage and enable Mariners players to take on initiatives outside of football, like: continuing tertiary education; finding flexible employment opportunities and assist with living out of home expenses. Finding a balance for young players between training, playing, studying and working is crucial.
“For me personally, this is a great challenge and something I am very passionate about. I care about the wellbeing of our players and want to help them achieve their dreams. We want to offer them support in all areas of their life, so that there are no excuses,” Baxter said.
The Yellow & Navy Foundation is endorsed by Professional Footballers Australia who were represented by Emily Figueroa at the foundation’s official launch.
“It is hugely encouraging to see the Mariners committing to the holistic development of young people. Evidence suggests that the best youth development programs have a broad focus, which is a critical factor in producing world class players and people, so we commend the Mariners for this universal approach,” Figueroa said.
Businesses or individuals interested in offering their support, can e-mail Yellow & Navy Foundation Manager, Sharon Baxter on: firstname.lastname@example.org