CMMW Researchers and Mentors

Ramon Spaaij

I am a professor in sport management and sociology of sport at Victoria University. Many of my childhood memories involve sport in one way or another: from playing street football (the round ball) and tennis in the Netherlands, and watching Studio Sport on Sunday evenings, to attending my first Feyenoord-Ajax game with my grandfather and my father. I have been playing club football since I was six years old, and today I play futsal in a team made up predominantly of migrants like me. I also continue to enjoy coaching kids in football.

Brent McDonald

I am a lecturer and researcher in the sociology of sport at Victoria University. I am internationally recognised for my research on sport in contemporary Australian society. Through years of engagement with students I have developed a keen understanding of the issues of inclusion and exclusion across a variety of grass roots and elite sport settings.

Carla Luguetti

I am a lecturer and researcher in physical education at Victoria University. I migrated to Australia recently and sport has always been a part of my life. I started to play when I was eight years old on the streets in Brazil. We used to play a small-sided soccer game called ‘gol caixote’. The posts were made with flip flops, and the uneven terrain, houses and people passing by made the game even more fun. I grew up playing football and flying kites with friends who lived in favelas (slums in Brazil). I met so many good friends while playing football. I also learned so many values including teamwork, collaboration, and trust. 

Fiona McLachlan

I am a senior lecturer and researcher in sport and social change at Victoria University and I am a lead researcher on the Change Makers project. I am a kiwi and in my youth I played, coached and managed many sports. I spent countless hours swimming, running and whacking balls. I loved sport and physical activity so much that I undertook a physical education degree at the University of Otago, and my love of sport then coincided with a love of learning and research.

Nyayoud Jice

My Relationship with sports is different to most people. As a kid, I loved the social aspects of sports and was naturally good at it.  However, that changed when I started noticing teachers and coaches taking fun out of sports and placing  more importance on my skills and competitiveness. This resulted in me resisting to play sports and this changed my  outlook on sports as a whole. I am excited to be part of the change makers project and looking forward to revisiting and unpacking the biases and the resistance I had as a kid and look at it from a different perspective.

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Georgia Denisenko

About Me

In 2018, I took on a new role as Girls’ Program Manager at Glen Eira FC, after realising the Club wasn’t offering its girls anything close to the same opportunities as the boys in the Club. With 2 daughters and 2 sons who played for Glen Eira FC, and were having very different experiences, this wasn’t acceptable to me!  Working alongside the inaugural Girls’ Technical Director, John Sugunananthan (a visionary coach and leader in girls and women’s football), we introduced a host of new programs (most of them free), established a leadership team, gathered sponsors, and created an elite pathway for girls in the Club, to match the elite boys’ pathway that had existed for nearly 10 years.

A year later our girls’ participation rate had increased by 40%, our social media was saturated with our new girls’ program, and we were off and away!  Despite the enormous progress we have made, we still have a very long way to go in many areas before reaching the target of 50/50 –  for example our Club’s Committee is severely lacking in its representation of girls and women.

Whilst I am a lawyer by background, I am passionate about advancing girls and women in football, and I was a lucky participant in FV’s inaugural Female Administrator Leadership Program in 2019.  I was also grateful to receive a Change Our Game Scholarship from the Victorian Government, which will allow me to further my study in community sports management and leadership.

I have hopeful leadership aspirations for the future, and would especially like to see Club governance reformed and overhauled, to ensure equality in participation and experience in Clubs. I am thrilled that Australia is co-hosting the Women’s World Cup in 2023. What a time to be an Australian woman involved in the beautiful game!  I doubt there will be a better opportunity to advance women and girls in football in Australia, and to reach the target of 50/50 participation.  We have much to do on many fronts, but this is our time  – oh the places we will go!

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