Socceroos midfielder Adam Sarota shares with the PFA why Indigenous Football Week is so important and why the work of John Moriarty Football truly is a #GameChanger.

The smiles were beaming across the faces of excited young Indigenous Australians as they accompanied their heroes onto the pitch to face Jordan. On the other side of the world in the early hours of the morning their joy and pride was rivaled. “To see those kids walk out onto the field with the Socceroos, even though I wasn’t there, was a really proud moment for me,” said Adam Sarota speaking from the Netherlands. “I felt so happy for the children, I could see how happy they were.”

Sarota knew what it meant it to those children. He had been one them. He grew up in a remote community south of Cairns dreaming of a football career. He has lived their dream, making it all the way to the Socceroos and to the bright lights of Europe.

Football for Sarota has done just what John Moriarty Football (JMF) has long known it can do for his fellow Indigenous Australians – been a game changer. It is for this reason, and many others, why the Socceroos midfielder is so passionate about the inaugural Indigenous Football Week.

“This week is important not just for Aboriginals but for the whole of football.  The work that John Moriarty Football undertakes is unbelievable. I come from a town called Gordonvale, which is very remote, it is about 20 kilometers south of Cairns. It is not a very big town and we had between 10-15 thousand people living there when I was growing up, so I know just how important programs like this can be to kids who are just like I was. When I was growing up it was a bit weird for me being an aboriginal kid wanting to play football because everyone played Rugby League. We were pushed a lot more to play that.”

In Borrollola, the remote community where JMF runs its football programs, 91% of 6-16 year olds participate. For Sarota it just further highlights the power of the game.

“Having something like John Moriarty Football shows kids that they can chose football, they don’t have to play other sports. This is important for the game and young Aboriginals. We have seen the impact many have had on other codes and indeed on football as well.”

The players, Sarota says, must drive progress. “I’m so proud of what the Socceroos, through the PFA, have done. When you are young you need people to inspire you, the Socceroos would have done that. I always looked up to Jade North, he showed me what was possible and Jade being down there at the game with the JMF kids I’m sure would have done the same for them also.”

Like JMF, Sarota believes this must be the start of what is truly a game changer for Indigenous Australians. “I’m proud to be a part of this, the power of the game is huge, it really can transform lives.”

Supporters can visit the John Moriarty Football website ( to donate, and can encourage family and friends to do the same by uploading and sharing a photo or video of their feet, barefoot, with a ball, or juggling or playing, to Facebook and Instagram using the hashtags #BarefootJMF and #GameChanger. SMS donations can be made by texting GOAL to 0455 021 021.