Cutting through the mainstream coverage of Australian football, Chad Gibson views the game through a modern, creative lens. He’s ambitious, unique, is breaking new ground and is leading the charge to establish Australian football culture – locally and globally – through his content. As a former NSL and A-League player, Gibson has dedicated himself to the game.

Following his playing career, Gibson went out on a limb to establish Local FC in 2011, with a little encouragement from his partner. Since then, the one-man creative director has gone from strength to strength. In July, Gibson was presented the PFA’s Craig Foster Scholarship, awarded for his consistent championing of the sport and his fellow players. He expertly tells the story of Australian football through the authentic voice of the players, while weaving in his love for culture. caught up with Chad recently to discuss all things Local FC…

Tell us a little bit about Local FC…

CG: After finishing playing professionally for over 13 plus years, I needed some time away from the game. Basically, for a year I didn’t kick a ball or watch a game. I pursued other interests. I then started to play some pickup games again and fell back in love with the game like I was a kid again. I met my wife in that time who has a Masters in design who pushed me to pick up a camera and explore my creative side which I probably hid when I was playing. I created LOCALFC because I wanted to change the way football was viewed. I wanted to show football through my eyes. I made a promise I was going to be myself 100%, honest, emotional and most importantly authentic. I didn’t want other footballers to fall out of love and I wanted to show people outside the game the real life of a professional footballer. I also wanted to merge my love of culture with football. This was before the current trend of football culture was even a thing.

What drives you the most about Local FC? 

CG: Being the authentic voice for Australian football and an outlet for the players. I feel privileged and honored the trust the players have in me and it is something they know I will never misplace. I always say 99% of what we talk about will never make LOCALFC. I have had late night phone calls from players getting them through situations in their careers and now I see them blossoming, it makes what I do worthwhile. Growing up with Johnny Warren and Les Murray, they were the iconic voices of my youth. I want to be part of carrying that tradition on in Australian football in a new medium.

What is your ultimate aim with Local FC?

CG: To establish Australian Football Culture – LOCAL BUT GLOBAL.

What was the reason for starting Local FC? 

CG: To redefine how we look at football and footballers. To be a trusted voice for the game I have known my whole life. To merge culture and football and be an authentic storyteller for the beautiful game.

What does a day in the life of Chad Gibson look like? 

CG: My boy TITI (Thierry) has just turned one so he is usually up by 7AM, so first thing is to make coffee for Cec (Chad’s wife) and I. Pre World Cup I think I did three weeks of 15 hour days to get my projects finished and prior to that it was about three months straight without a day off. So catching up on some family time is a priority. But once we are up, we have a home studio so I am usually catching up on emails just after 7 AM and news from overnight. Then it is straight into project work which can carry me through to after 6PM, afternoons whether I have a shoot scheduled or taking a meeting. Trying to have an off-season but for the past couple of years, that just has not happened.

What has been your biggest achievement through the PFA? 

CG: I would say when I first finished football and came back and did a transition talk to all the A-League teams. It was probably the scariest thing I have ever done, to stand in front of every player in the League and tell them my story of transition, it means a lot that players still come up to me about that chat today. It also discussed the importance of networking whilst playing as well. The Beyond the 90 video series I collaborated in with the PFA was something I was proud of as well, it got players to break down the walls of young, experienced and transition players. It was a powerful project.

What does it mean to win the Craig Foster Scholarship? 

It means so much as first and foremost it comes from the players. I know they believe in what I do and have my back. To also be given an award under Craig Foster’s name is inspiring, he has been a pioneer post-football career in his achievements not only in the media but empowerment of our game. To be part of the next generation of people to move the game forward truly empowers me.

How will you put the scholarship to use? 

CG: It’s a decision I’m taking seriously and putting a lot of thought into. There are a couple of short courses I have had my eye on, one specifically about photography by Annie Leibovitz, and others related to our other business in sports marketing. Because we travel a lot I’ve been researching the potential of doing a course overseas  too.

Is there anyone you would like to thank? 

CG: The players past, present, and future. For their trust and to let me tell their stories with complete honesty. Beau from the PFA who has had a similar transition to myself and is selfless in what he does. I feel a genuine mutual respect with him and am proud to be one of his peers. My wife/muse Cec who is as much LOCALFC as me. She makes me a better version of myself every day and continually challenges and inspires me to create more in every project we do. I am very lucky she understands we both only want to work on projects that we both are passionate about. This allowed me to be inspired every day when I get up about what we do and create projects we both are proud of. And of course, TITI who has put life into perspective and is already the heir to the LOCALFC crown.

Any thing else you would like to add? 

It’s just the beginning. Stay tuned…..

About Local FC

Local FC is an Australian based football publication, which explores the way in which football affects our lives. From matchday to all the ways in which football transcends sport culture and extends beyond the 90 minutes, Local FC offers readers a unique insight into the beautiful game. Founded by ex-professional footballer, Chad Gibson, the publication caters to an international audience with an emphasis on Australian football advocacy. Despite its Australian roots, our local focus represents our interest in grassroots projects, whether on the field, in the gallery or on the street; the small ways that our communities contribute to making the global game local wherever we are in the world.