Last weekend 128 young Sydney Olympic footballers donned blue boot laces for their home matches in support of the #laceitup campaign to raise both awareness of youth homelessness and funds for Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off the Streets program.

Sydney Olympic FC bought the blue laces and raised about $1,000 for the program, becoming the first football club to get on board with the campaign.

Olympic’s general manager Anthony Nicolaou explained: “Nobody in the NPL, A-League, in divisions underneath are involved. We’re the first football team to take up this campaign. We wanted to do it because we’ve been around for a while (since 1957). We wanted to start giving back to the community. We consider ourselves as more community based than a lot of other teams, whether it’s NRL, AFL or whatever, because a lot of our players come from all around the metropolitan area.”

Nicolaou explained that the club had been looking for a charity to be part of and decided that the #laceitup campaign would be a good fit with the club, because “the blue that we have (in our strip) is the same colour as the blue in the Lace It Up campaign.”

Nicolaou said the players all reacted positively to wearing the laces last weekend. “They all loved it. They thought it was a good gesture from the club. They all got into it. Not one player said I can’t wear those.”

According to the Everyday Hero website, tying up the laces is a symbolic gesture aimed at raising awareness of thousands of young homeless people forced to sleep with their shoes on at night to keep warm and be ready to run from harm.

Nicolaou says Sydney Olympic would like to be involved with the charity on an ongoing basis and increase its participation when it occurs again next year.