Melbourne City FC and Etihad Airways Team Up To Empower Young Community Football Leaders


Melbourne City FC and Etihad Airways have joined forces to develop youth leaders around the world, who are tackling social issues in their communities by delivering youth-led football projects.

Returning for its third year, the Cityzens Giving Young Leaders Summit welcomed 50 young leaders from City Football Group’s global network of community projects to Manchester City’s state-of-the-art training facility, City Football Academy. 

The week-long program saw leaders from 14 global cities take part in a variety of on and off-the-pitch workshops to develop and enhance their community football leadership and coaching skills.

As the Official Summit Partner, Etihad Airways connected young people from around the world by flying many of them to Manchester. For several delegates, this was their first experience of international travel.

16 returning leaders from Melbourne, Manchester, New York, Cape Town, Kuala Lumpur, Barranquilla, Kolkata and São Paulo co-delivered the Summit to their peers and new leaders from projects in Beijing, Bandung (Indonesia), Mexico City and Abu Dhabi. 

The delegates, aged between 16-30 years old, are currently delivering community football projects addressing a range of issues affecting young people, including gang crime, substance abuse, HIV / AIDS, obesity and creating safe spaces for children to play football. 

Victorians Albert Mambo, Wilson Poni, Annabel Finch, Chloe Gatt, Timothy Laing and Anthony Mercuri – who are involved in the delivery of Melbourne’s City in the Community programs – travelled from Melbourne to attend the Young Leaders Summit to continue their leadership development. All six Melbourne-based leaders are actively involved in Melbourne City FC’s community outreach programs and helped to deliver the inaugural Young Leaders Summit in Melbourne earlier this year.

Young Leaders

Mambo, a young leader who helped develop City in the Community’s ‘I Speak Football’ program to address social isolation issues in the Victorian community, commented on his experience at the Global Young Leaders Summit, where he helped deliver the young leader training:

“Being part of the Cityzens Giving Young Leaders Summit was a truly rewarding and unforgettable experience. Meeting so many enthusiastic and like-minded young leaders and sharing our passion for making lasting social impact in our respective communities is incredibly inspiring.
“Most importantly, we now have the opportunity to share and implement new ideas and learnings from the Summit to our programs here in Melbourne to improve the lives of others. This process has not only empowered me as a leader in my community, but has helped me grow as an individual.”

Patrick Pierce, Vice President, Marketing Partnerships at Etihad Airways, said:

“Etihad Airways has a duty to contribute to communities around the world. By flying delegates into Manchester for the Cityzens Giving Young Leader Summit, we are honoured to connect young people who seek to address complex social issues in their home cities. This is another powerful example of using the medium of football to tackle a wide range of social problems and give young people a brighter future.” 

The week also saw leadership master classes from Club experts including members from City Football Group’s Leadership Team as well as more practical sessions on event and project management, safeguarding and monitoring and evaluation.

On the final day, leaders put all their newly found knowledge and experience into practice as they organised and delivered two highly successful football festivals for 240 local school children and Manchester City fans.

Young Leaders