Home Australia Hundreds of children in this dense Sydney suburb play sports every week on a small patch of grass.

Hundreds of children in this dense Sydney suburb play sports every week on a small patch of grass.

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A boy in a soccer jersey juggles a ball.

In a concrete jungle of high-rise apartments, there is a small patch of much-loved astroturf, which has been converted into a community center in Sydney’s west.

Local children go there every Friday with their families after school, playing Aussie Rules and footballs.

“We’ve been doing this for the last two and a half years non-stop,” said Heba Aly, a sports-mad mom.

Wentworth Point has developed rapidly from an industrial area to a residential suburb over the last 10 years and is home to many immigrant families.

Wentworth Point has an ideal place for children to practice after school.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

Mrs Aly moved to the suburb from Egypt six years ago and began running local sports clinics.

There is no football or soccer fields in the suburb, so Aly held the sessions in a concrete car park.

“The key is to enjoy what we have,” he said.

“Sport can be anywhere. There is no need to fight because we have no space.”

A trainer with sports exercises and cones installed in a parking lot.

Heba Aly used to coach kids in an empty parking lot.(Supplied)

Wentworth Point’s population has almost doubled in recent years, with just over 12,000 residents.

Since many children wanted a place to run, the suburb’s property developer, Billbergia, created a 60 square meter green grass area two years ago.

“You have to make sure there is green space for children,” Ms Aly said.

“Because where will they go?”

Tall apartment buildings squeezed side by side.

Wentworth Point is a dense and highly developed suburb.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

The power of sport

Ms Aly is a former professional handball player who is also the coach of the Australian women’s handball team.

She believes sports are the key to helping immigrant families get back on their feet.

“I feel like this is my journey,” he said.

“Most people don’t know anything about Australian sports. One of them is the AFL.”

A coach in her uniform.

Heba Aly says sports programs and access to facilities are very important for diverse communities.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

The GWS Giants have a strong presence at Wentworth Point, with club representatives and players hosting regular Aussie Rules clinics.

“A lot of people may not know each other and there are language barriers,” said key player Adam Kennedy.

“But everyone comes here, everyone smiles, has fun and plays football.”

Excited kids running with AFL balls.

AFL clinics are popular in Wentworth Point.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

He has noticed a big change in attitude towards the AFL in western Sydney over the past 12 years.

“They know the players, they know the games, they’ve been to games,” he said.

“They’re showing us how to kick a drop punt, how to kick a goal, what celebration we should do next.

“So they believed it.”

A smiling AFL player.

Adam Kennedy has seen the growth of Aussie Rules in Western Sydney over the past 12 years.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

Green spaces and urban expansion

Rasha Shnoudeh and her family moved to Wentworth Point four months ago.

Their daughter Tala loves football, while Carla likes to watch the AFL.

“There are many buildings here and the population is high,” he said.

“So we would really appreciate it if you could provide us with play areas and a soccer field.”

A woman with her three daughters.

Rasha Shnoudeh takes her daughters to the green space for a walk.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

The developer has submitted plans for more green space at Wentworth Point, including multi-use sports facilities, and is awaiting approval from the state government.

Urban sprawl and the urgent need for housing are leading to more high-rise apartments, but Aly says basic sports fields are a must.

“I think it’s very important for all Sydney developers to think about this,” he said.

“In four or five years we will have at least more than 2,000 children, but we don’t have space.”

A boy kicks an AFL ball, with a huge building in the background.

The local community is pushing for more sports fields and schools to be created to cater for the growing number of children.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce )

Local parent Youhanna Mekheil would also like to see more greenery and opportunities for children to burn off energy.

“It’s nice to have some sports for the kids, after school and (during) vacations,” he said.

“More spaces, more activities and more trainers are needed.”

youhanna and rachel paz

Youhanna Mekhail believes that sports help children perform better in school.(ABC News: Bindi Bryce)

Aly believes there are future elite athletes at Wentworth Point.

“My dream is to see the most kids here at the Olympics or playing AFL, football or basketball.

“Sport is the key for any community to live in harmony and in a good environment.”

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