Soccer & Society
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Indigenous Australians have had some great successes in Australian football and rugby. However, this success has not been mirrored in the ‘world game’, soccer. This study examines the reasons for such under-representation in Australia. The barriers to access to soccer were a combination of racist government policy which restricted the movement of Aboriginal people, and thus their opportunities to engage with a game that was not located near the isolated reserves in which they were held. The most successful Aboriginal players were fortunate that their circumstances placed them in close proximity to locales that were soccer strongholds. Moreover, the multicultural environment of post-Second World War Australian soccer provided these players a haven from the prejudice and racism of wider Australian society. The fact that soccer itself faced obstacles of acceptance in mainstream Australian sporting culture also impeded an Aboriginal presence. However, in recent years, several players have broken through to play in the national league and gain national representative honours.