Rise ambassador Habib rewarded with a football contract at Valentine FC

Habib Noorani on a 10 day trial at the Newcastle Jets.


COFFS United Striker and Rise Ambassador Habibullah Noorani, (Habib) has secured a contract with semi-professional National Premier League club, Valentine FC.

Habib was introduced to the Newcastle Jets at a Rise training session in December 2020 when they visited Coffs Harbour to play a preseason match against the Brisbane Roar.

Habib’s skills and work ethic caught the eye of the Newcastle Jets coaching staff which resulted in an invitation to train with the Jets on a 10-day football experience.

Jets youth coach Ben Hughes saw potential in Habib and introduced him to Lake Macquarie based NPL Northern NSW club Valentine FC, where he trained twice and was promptly offered a contract.

Habib was full of gratitude, “I am very grateful to everyone who has assisted me on my journey at Rise and Coffs United.

“I want to lead all the way for the kids at Rise who just need people to believe in them, I’m very excited and can’t wait to show them what I can do,” said Habib.

Rise is a not-for-profit community association which brings people together and helps people from all backgrounds through playing football.

Rise Vice President Ian Leach provided some insights into Habib’s journey.

“Habib has come a long way in a short time, both in his personal and football lives, it is less than a year since he joined Rise after an email from his sister who heard about Rise’s Football Academy and their work with the Coffs refugee community.

“Habib came to Australia from Afghanistan as a refuge in 2016 and had lost his way a little, Habib thrived at Rise, found his purpose, and quickly earned a reputation as an admired leader and mentor of the younger members of the Academy.

“He’s been involved in many Rise volunteer activities most notably the Graff Avenue project helping the kids of Toormina learn football, running BBQ’s and distributing meals.

“Woolworth’s, a co-sponsor of the Graff Avenue project, quickly recognised Habib’s dedication, enthusiasm and work ethic and offered him a job.

“This exciting new chapter in Habib’s life begins this week with his move to Valentine, 18kms south of Newcastle,” said Leach.

It’s been a meteoric rise for Habib who played in last year’s reserve grade, grand final for Coffs United under the stewardship of Men’s senior coach Glen Williams.

“Habib joined Coffs United 3 years ago, not having played club football at all, immediately the coaching staff saw potential but his talent was raw, he improved week by week and eventually in 2019 had a consistent spot in the reserve grade men’s team, which he continued through 2020.

“His appetite for football and training was evident, and we saw this through his commitment to the club and to the Rise Academy via training and his selfless attitude in helping out the younger children in the academy.

“He trained weekly over this Christmas break with the Rise academy coach, Phil McMullen, and from the first training run this year, I saw a vast improvement in his strength, fitness and skills.

“Unfortunately we have only seen this improvement in one trial game versus Lismore due to the weather, however I’m so pleased for him, as life has dealt him a couple of speed humps, but this has built his determination to go to the next level in his football, Coffs United Football Club wishes Habib all the best for the coming future,” said Williams.

Phil McMullen, Rise’s Technical Director explained how football at Rise can lead to broader benefits.

“Habib is a very good player with high potential and sets a wonderful example for all of our younger academy participants and he is currently enrolled in a Further Studies Certificate II course at TAFE.

“Habib attends every Rise academy training session, he assists with coaching several mornings fulfilling his volunteering requirements at Rise,” said McMullen.

Grant Lawler, Rise’s Wellbeing Manager assisted Habib with developing his swimming and in a remarkably short time Habib gained his Bronze Medallion, joined the Coffs Harbour Surf Life Saving Club and is now helping patrol our local beaches.

“Habib will be playing for Valentine during 2021 and has aspirations to cement a place within Australia’s A-League.

He has set goals to support his progress and with the support of Rise he’s keen to create a remarkable pathway for himself and future Rise participants to benefit from,” said Lawler.



Habib Noorani in the 2020 Reserve Grade Grand Final.

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