Football West Regional Development Officer John Overton is using his teaching background to help unlock football’s potential in the Great Southern region of Western Australia.
Overton, who has been in a part-time role since March 2017 and has recently moved to a full-time role, works in an area stretching over 40,000 square kilometres from Denmark to Bremer Bay and north to Katanning.
A former physical education and learning support teacher, Overton plans to assist all aspects of football in the region.
“Coming from an education background and teaching for almost 10 years, doing practical delivery has been something I’ve always been passionate about,” he said.
“I’ve established some really good relationships with teachers in departments, which leads into promoting football, which then leads into working out ways that I can come back to the school through a Football West capacity to get kids involved.”
Overton has focused on running services that allow players of all abilities and capabilities to participate.
“My priorities are really to extend the catchment area of football to smaller regional communities and link it back to local competitions in Albany,” he said.
“(We’re) promoting pathways for players, referees and coaches and delivering programs that offer an incentive to stay in the game.”
Overton, who moved to Denmark from Perth last year to take up the Football West role, assists with multiple programs including additional training for children at club level, a youth service for disadvantaged kids and after-school sessions in Mount Barker.
“I’ve also been able to establish some training and competitions for people with disabilities in Albany (and) I have a program running for adults with disabilities where they play football once a week,” he said.
Football West Head of Development Jamie Harnwell said the establishment of a full-time officer is another demonstration of the commitment of Football West to regional football.
“With the Belt Up campaign, which is especially pertinent to regional areas, there will be a great deal of investment throughout Western Australia,” he said.
“John has undertaken some great initiatives already in his time and we look forward to him increasing the capacity of football in the whole of the Great Southern region.”