'Unbelievable' response to information day

Matt Zarb outlines plans for the games at an information day held at Omaru Park, Taree.
Matt Zarb outlines plans for the games at an information day held at Omaru Park, Taree.

Football for kids with special needs will officially kick off on Sunday (August 5) at Omaru Park.

This follows the response to a meeting held at Omaru to discuss the possibility of starting organised games. The meeting was convened by Matt Zarb and the project has been backed by Football Mid North Coast. 

An estimated 150 people turned up for the information day, with 45 players now registered through Football Mid North Coast.

Matt’s youngest son, Marli, is autistic. Matt was kicking a ball around with him earlier this year when he had the idea of playing organised games for children with special needs. This was first reported in the Times on July 6.

He said the response since the article appeared has been ‘incredible.’

“I knew it was going to be big, but it was unbelievable,’’ Matt said.

Family groups journeyed from Coffs Harbour and Newcastle as well as throughout the FMNC zone for the meeting, while sponsors are coming on board. 

FMNC chairman Mike Parsons attended and described the response as ‘enormous,’

“We’ll put the players into teams and get them playing strips,’’ Mr Parsons added.

He said the idea is to get a model from the Taree competition and he believes the concept will spread throughout the zone. 

“No doubt we’ll have a couple of hiccups, but we’ll crawl before we can walk before we can run to ensure we get this going.’’

Matt Zarb said games will be played at Omaru for the next seven to eight weeks.

“We’ll play before it gets too hot and people want to go swimming,’’ he said.

He added Taree Wildcats Football Club have been totally supportive.

“They’ll open the ground for us each Sunday, run a canteen and make sure we have all the equipment we need,’’ he said.

Matt said the games will be an outlet for the parents as well as their children.

“They know they're not alone and that there’s support for them. They also know this will be a safe space for their kids,’’ he added.

Matches will be underway from 10am.

Further details can be found on the Rainbow Warriors FC Facebook page.