Voice For Change: How persistence, practice and family changed Archie Thompson's life
So far, we've caught up with the likes of Diafrix, Sampa The Great, Majak Daw, B Wise and Ecca Vandal to give you the lowdown on Voice For Change - a community-focused project that champions creativity as a force to combat some of the issues affecting local youth today, inspiring the next generation to follow their dreams and ambitions. Now, we're getting to know each story individually. This week, we sit down with legendary Australian football player Archie Thompson to see how music, family and persistence has shaped his journey to becoming one of the greatest players to ever grace the A-League.
How has your experience growing up in such a close family made you who you are today?
Growing up, my family were so supportive. Every Sunday we’d jump in the car for hours on end going to football games with my siblings and I, so we formed really strong bonds. We’re still very close to this day.
I looked up to my parents and wanted to make them proud. After getting involved in some stuff I probably shouldn’t have at a young age, it was my drive to make them happy and proud that got me back on the right track and pursuing football as a career.
What was the largest challenge you had to overcome to achieve your dream of playing football?
Setting out to achieve your dream is all about mindset. You’ll hear in my VFC episode that the turning point for me was seeing Harry Kewell on TV while I was working in a Chinese restaurant. That moment gave me the drive to go, “I can do this. I’m cutting all the shit and I’m going to be a professional footballer”.
Yes, there are challenges and barriers that everyone faces no matter what they want to do, but with persistence and practise, once people realise their dreams, they have to give it absolutely everything.
What has playing sport taught you about community?
It’s about being part of a community and the effect it can have on you and the feeling of being part of something. My teammates became family and working together on everything gave so much positivity. Once you find those you fit in with and those positive influences, it's fulfilling.
It’s also allowed me to get out there in the community and set up a sporting (soccer) school to guide kids and young people.
Growing up, how did getting involved with football change your life?
It completely changed my life – it shaped who I am. It gave me opportunities to play on a world stage, to do what I loved as a job and meet unbelievable people who will be lifelong friends.
What advice would you give to the next generation of migrants to use their voice for change?
My advice would be to find what you love, find what you’re passionate about, and give it everything. Then you can use that passion and your voice to be heard.
Whether that be getting involved in the community, a group or extra curriculum activities, you can help others to make positive, life-affirming choices for a positive future.
You love music – what influence or memories do you have of music growing up and now?
Growing up, we’d listen to music with the family and to and from football games. I guess it reminds me of those times. Music is also an important part of pre-game ritual. It pumps you up and gets you ready. Music and sport are so intertwined, especially in Melbourne, which is the Aussie home of both. The messages within music are extremely powerful.
Learn more about how Archie Thompson uses his Voice For Change in this week's episode: