Defence personnel proudly flying the flag for football

Football is not called the world game for nothing.

Football is a movement that transcends borders, social classes and gender, bringing people from all walks of life together for 90 minutes.

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It is perhaps unsurprising then to learn that the Australian Defence Force (ADF) has a long and proud history of football within its ranks.

That is right - the brave men and women in uniform that sacrifice so much for our nation also enjoy a kick around in their spare time.

Football in the military will be given a chance to showcase itself this weekend during the Hyundai A-League’s Remembrance Round as football fans around Australia gather to pay their respects to all those who have served.

On this the centenary of Armistice, it is fitting that a team representing the ADF will play an Adelaide United Legends side in a special exhibition match.

The match will act as a curtain raiser to the Round 4 Hyundai A-League clash between Adelaide United and Perth Glory at Coopers Stadium on Sunday.

Remembrance Round banner

But football is not just played occasionally in the ADF - it has developed its own competition and rivalries throughout the years.

The game is organised by the Australian Defence Force Football Federation (ADFFF) and is comprised of the individual football bodies of the three services; Army, Navy and Air Force.

Every year the services compete in the ADFFF National Championships in men’s, women’s and veteran’s divisions.

Assistant coach for the ADF men’s team, Warrant Officer Mark Ninness, says the keenly fought competition helps form the whole of ADF side.

“At the end of the tournament basically the ADF team will get picked,” Ninness said.

“It’s the best out of all three services - that defence force team is obviously the pinnacle of what a defence member can play at.”

Ninness said the opportunity to play in front of the public was a special experience for the players.

Telstra

“It started last year, the ladies were able to play an opening game for the women’s league [Westfield W-League] which is fantastic and the men are opening at an A-League game down in Adelaide both on Remembrance Day,” he said.

“It’s our second year doing that so that is fantastic.”