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St Kilda Football Club is excited to announce a community football partnership with the South Metro Junior Football League (SMJFL) for 2017 and beyond.

The partnership will focus on community football development and pathways; an integral element for players, coaches, umpires and volunteers within the league.

With shared values of community and belonging, the Saints and the SMJFL will aim to grow community football together, bringing elite experience and expertise to grassroots football through mentoring, appearances, coaching and sharing player development practices.

This continued involvement and flourishing partnership will allow St Kilda FC to understand and uphold the SMJFL’s key tagline ‘it’s about the kids’ and allow both organisations to be better together.

This official partnership formalises a long-standing relationship between the Saints and the SMJFL, with a number of past and present St Kilda FC players hailing from the league. On top of that, in an amazing show of support in Saints heartland, almost a quarter of surveyed SMJFL players barrack for St Kilda FC.

General Manager of Community Lisa Laing said the Saints were incredibly excited to begin a formal partnership with the SMJFL.

“Being able to work with the great people that make community football happen and be part of the biggest junior league in the country is outstanding,” Laing said.

“We have recently launched our youth talent development program, Saints Next Generation Academy, for young people aged between 11 and 15.

“We see this as an integral pathway for all SMJFL players – boys and girls alike.”

SMJFL Chief Executive Officer Sarah Loh said she was also looking forward to a bright and prosperous partnership.

“We are excited to be joining forces with St Kilda Football Club and we’re looking forward to an era of growth and development within the league,” Loh said.

“Their dedication to us is fantastic for the community and grassroots football and we can’t wait to share plenty of success in the years to come.”

The Round 1 game between St Kilda FC and Melbourne FC will see a celebration of this partnership, with SMJFL players and families invited to register to receive complimentary general admission tickets. Please click here to register.

SMJFL juniors will also feature in a pre-game guard of honour, as well as during the half time entertainment.