The small business specialists
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Charles and Anne Smith, and their eleven-year-old son Charlie, have been kicking plenty of goals since they arrived in Western Australia. The Smith family received great news recently, after initially arriving on a State sponsored Business Skills (Provisional) 163 Visa, they had just been granted their Permanent Residency via the State Sponsored 892 Visa.
The Smith family first discussed migrating to Western Australia after several trips to visit Charles’ sister Marie, who has lived in Fremantle for almost 40 years.
“We have a special affinity with Perth,” Anne said.
“We came here before we got married, then we had our wedding here. Charlie took his first baby steps in Perth and he learned to swim while we were here on holiday,” Anne said.
“We’ve been to Perth twelve times in ten years, so you could almost say that Charlie has grown up here!”
The decision to migrate was finally made when Charles, along with his trusty police dog Buddy, retired from the Glasgow Police Force, Anne was ready for a change from her highly successful childcare business and Charlie was simply busting to live permanently in Australia.
A visit to an immigration expo in Edinburgh, discussions with State Migration Centre (SMC) staff in London and Perth, and ongoing support from the Perth Office helped the process along.
“Over the last couple of years we’ve received great support from the staff at the State Migration Centre. Our visa was rather difficult to obtain, especially as we were a very small, newly established business, so the guidance we received was very helpful indeed,” Anne said.
The family’s original plan was to work in the childcare/child entertainment industry in Perth and either buy or start a new business, but Fate had other plans.
“In the beginning, we were looking at businesses to buy, but just couldn’t find what we were looking for,” Charles said. “We had a certain criteria in mind, but nothing was quite up to the mark.”
As well as being a police officer, Charles had been a qualified coach with football associations in both Scotland and England. Once settled in Port Kennedy, a chance visit to the local amateur football club for a bit of exercise, and to ‘keep his hand in,’ proved to be the turning point in the family’s new career direction.
A job offer from the Peel Regional Football Council for Charles to provide 25 hours coaching per week soon turned into 35 hours a week and then grew into a very successful business for Charles and Anne.
CASA Football Academy was established in January 2007 to promote the world game of soccer in Western Australia. Through contracts with the Peel Regional Football Council and the Australian Sports Commission’s Active Schools Program, CASA now provides comprehensive soccer coaching for boys and girls aged six to 15 years in all areas of Perth and Mandurah, both within the school curriculum and outside of school hours.
Charles has experience in coaching children of all ages and abilities and is also qualified to coach players with disabilities.
What started out as a chance encounter is quickly turning into a dream come true for Charles and Anne.
“We’ve met some fantastic people along the way and the services CASA offers are expanding every week.
“I was lucky enough to train WA’s Indigenous Soccer team who travelled to Townsville in 2009 to compete against other States,” Charles said.
In the future, Charles hopes to coach an Australian under 21 men’s soccer team to compete internationally, while Anne is considering her options in the childcare industry.
“At the moment while the business is growing so fast, I’ve got plenty to do keeping up with the administration side of CASA, but I’d also like to look at some education courses to keep up with changes in the childcare industry here in WA,” Anne said.
Western Australia and the Peel region in particular, have been the big winners from Charles and Anne’s decision to live permanently in the West.
As part of its broad range of services, CASA regularly brings well known soccer identities from England and Scotland to Perth to share their knowledge with local players.
In 2008, Charles won the Australian Sports Commission’s 5 Star Community Coach Award for soccer and on top of that, Charlie has been chosen Head Boy at his primary school in Port Kennedy.