Football has less than 1 % Indigenous representation in the A-League. Former Socceroo Jade North, tells us in his own words about his dream to increase those numbers and his mission to create an Indigenous Football Academy via his "Kickin’ with a Cuz program".
Winning the National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee award.
It was a proud moment when I won the NAIDOC 2016 Sportsperson of the Year because I take where I come from very seriously, growing up in a mission in Taree. To be amongst people like Adam Goodes and Patrick Mills who have won it before and have my name amongst them was an unbelievable feeling of achievement.
Out of all the Socceroos games that I had played, the A-League Championships I had won, this individual award was my biggest sporting achievement to date. It was one of the proudest moments in my career.
Winning the award is one of the highest accolades you can get as a sportsperson around Australia. It was a special honour and it was an achievement that Australian football had rarely been involved with.
But Football Federation Australia had no idea that one of their players won this prestigious award. It had to take one of my friends to contact the FFA to let them know that. If that had been an Adam Goodes in the AFL or Party Mills in basketball everybody in that code would have known about it.
That is how far behind we are as a code when it comes to Indigenous football, that the governing body didn’t even know that I had won.