Manchester United stars and staff have held a football coaching clinic with young refugees who are part of UNSW’s Football United.

The event, with Brazilian twins Fabio and Rafael da Silva and former player Bryan Robson, was held at UNSW’s David Phillips Memorial sports fields ahead of Man U’s A-League All-Stars game.

Hosted by UNICEF Australia, the clinic gave some juniors from the not-for-profit sports for development program the opportunity to hone their ball-handling skills and meet their idols.

Teresa Youl was one of two UNSW Football United Youth Leaders who had the opportunity to quiz the players about their careers. She admitted to being nervous.

“Football is my passion. In many ways it has been a big part of my education,” said the 19-year-old refugee and orphan from Sudan.

“When I was in high school I thought it was difficult to get into university, but I got inspiration from Football United," said Teresa who is now doing International Development Studies at UNSW.

“With every step that I have taken and every minute that passed I say to myself how lucky I am to be part of Football United,” said Teresa, who was the first recipient of the Football United scholarship, sponsored by the Vice Chancellor’s Alumni Appeal.

UNSW’s Football United founder and senior lecturer Anne Bunde-Birouste said the players and supporters thoroughly enjoyed the event.

“Teresa’s a shining example of what football and sport can give to young people,” says Ms Bunde-Birouste.

Manchester United’s partnership with UNICEF, United for UNICEF, has raised more than $5 million for programs that support child health and development globally.

In Australia, United for UNICEF is raising the profile of sports-for-development programs like Football United, a world leader in using football for social development.

Manchester United Foundation chief executive John Shiels said the United for UNICEF partnership recognised the role of sport and physical play for children and that sport and play were a child’s right under the Convention on the Rights of the Child

“We believe sport can be an effective program tool to achieve goals in health, education, gender equality, child protection and child development,” Mr Shiels said.

Football United is based at the School of Public Health and Community Medicine.

Media contact: Susi Hamilton, UNSW Media Office, 0422 934 024

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