Member for Dandenong, Gabrielle Williams, took to the soccer pitch over the weekend in a friendly match between Victorian Parliamentary Labor Party and Doveton Special Soccer School.

Nine Victorian Labor MPs, including Deputy Premier James Merlino, took part in the second annual game hosted by DSSS and Gabrielle Williams at Waratah Reserve in Doveton on Saturday.

Ms Williams together with the School’s Founder and Director, Juan Carlos Loyola OAM, organised the match as a way to raise awareness for DSSS and celebrate their valuable work at the end of their 2016 Program.

The Doveton Special Soccer School gives intellectually disabled children and adults across Victoria the opportunity to play soccer, develop skills and make new friends. The School has been run by Mr Loyola for over 24 years with the assistance of volunteers, parents and the community.

DSSS won the match 3-0, a significant improvement from the MPs who were defeated 10-1 last year.

The lively match was played with great spirit and was a rewarding experience for all involved. Unfortunately it was not without injury, with the Deputy Premier hobbling from the field late in the game with a pulled hamstring.

The MPs and DSSS shared a BBQ and some post-match banter after the game. Members of Parliament who participated in the match included:

  • Gabrielle Williams, Member for Dandenong
  • James Merlino, Deputy Premier
  • Paul Edbrooke, Member for Frankston
  • Shaun Leane, MLC for Eastern Metro Region
  • Adem Somyurek, MLC for South Eastern Region
  • Don Nardella (on the bench), Member for Melton
  • Alan Griffin, former Federal Member for Bruce
  • Representatives from the offices of Treasurer Tim Pallas, Attorney General Martin Pakula, and Narre Warren North MP Luke Donnellan.

Quotes attributable to Member for Dandenong, Gabrielle Williams:

“DSSS is integral to our local community. It enables people of all abilities to have the opportunity to participate in physical activity and reap the social, physical and mental health benefits of playing team sport.”

“We love our sport in Dandenong and this annual soccer match is a fantastic demonstration of how sport brings people and communities together.”