Year 10 student and emerging football player, Diing Akur, has been awarded the inaugural Crows Children’s Foundation Next Generation Academy Scholarship, giving him the opportunity to be involved in an elite football program and increase his opportunities to learn about and play Australian Rules football.
Diing has spent the last six months training with the Crows’ Next Generation Academy Talent Squad at Football Park, West Lakes. He was nominated by Mr Jarrod Meers, a Player Educator & Next Generation Academy Coordinator at Adelaide Football Club, and as a young person from a diverse background who exhibits high levels of positive behaviour and leadership.
The scholarship provides Diing with a financial grant to assist with progressing education and football opportunities and has been developed in partnership with the Crows Children’s Foundation. Diing has access to influential coaches, various training programs and top-of-the-range training facilities.
Having arrived in Australia at age five from South Sudan, it didn’t take long for Diing to find his passion for the sport.
“Prior to playing footy, lots of my mates at school were playing footy and that was the only thing I was watching at home [on TV],” Diing said. “So it was only right that I start playing it.”
Diing’s skills and abilities developed when he joined a local football club, increased his training outside of school hours and his aspiration to one day play at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) become the start of something great.
“I often trained once a day when I was playing in primary school (Paralowie),” Diing said.
“The training was often held on the soccer pitch, as they didn’t have an oval, but when I started playing for a club it made the difference.”
Diing currently trains once a week with Centrals District Football Club (U15), twice a week with local clubs Salisbury (U15) and Angle Vale (U17) and once a month with the Crows’ Next Generation Academy for players aged 16-19.
Standing at 194cm, 15-year-old Diing is a promising ruckman who is involved in football carnivals and knockout competitions alongside his St Columba College teammates.
To be considered for the scholarship, Diing had to show that he regularly attends and positively engages in school at the same time remaining committed to football.
“St Columba College has helped me build my character and helped me find who I am and what it is that I want in life,” Diing said.
“The College has taught me the right values to uphold myself as a respectable young man.”
As Diing navigates his way through the football talent pathway program, it is anticipated that one day he makes it to the AFL.
“My ultimate dream is to play alongside my football idol Nic Naitanui [West Coast Eagles] at the MCG,” Diing said.
“He is very inspirational and an entertaining guy to watch.”
“It’s a milestone in my footy career so far to get this scholarship. The Academy has been great because it has exposed me to great coaches and different types of training.”
Diing is a worthy recipient of the scholarship and the College looks forward to following in his success.
Mrs Amanda Fryer
Director of Communications and Engagement