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She’s come a long way as a Sudanese refugee to forge a life as an AFLW footballer, and now Akec Chuot will fly the flag for diversity in the AFL.
The Fremantle ruck has today been announced as one of 19 Australia Post AFL Multicultural Player Ambassadors for 2017.
In 2017, multicultural players make up 15 per cent of the AFL player lists across the 18 AFL Clubs and 7.8 per cent across the eight NAB AFL Women’s clubs.
As a Fremantle player and a community engagement co-ordinator for the WA Football Commission, Chuot is already experienced in helping to grow the game, especially for girls and for those of multi-cultural backgrounds.
Chuot told The West Australian that it helps to be able to understand the importance sport can play when finding your feet in a new country.
“I’m someone who has been in their shoes once upon a time, coming from a really tough background,” she said.
“I’ve been in this country now for 12 years and I remember when I first came to this country in 2005 with my family.
“My English wasn’t the greatest.
“They brought us down to Fremantle Oval and we got to meet guys like Matthew Pavlich.
“It was really cool, these were the Dockers that were playing AFL and we had a clinic with these guys that were heroes to a lot of people.
“Footy really breaks down the barriers.”
AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan said the ambassadors played an important role in promoting diversity and inclusion within Australian Football and the broader community.
“The Ambassadors represent 12 AFL Clubs, four AFLW Clubs, and a wide range of diverse communities throughout Australia,” Mr McLachlan said.
“They will play a crucial role in increasing cultural awareness, promoting inclusion and encouraging participation at all levels of Australian Football.
“We have increased the number of female ambassadors from two to four in 2017, which reflects the growing prominence of NAB AFL Women’s and the commitment we have made to build the foundations of women’s football.”
2017 Australia Post AFL Multicultural Ambassadors
Female footballers Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Brisbane Lions), Darcy Vescio (Carlton), Helen Roden (Collingwood) and Chuot (Fremantle) will be joined in promoting some of the many diverse backgrounds in Australia’s Game by Dayne Zorko (Brisbane Lions), Dyson Heppell (Essendon), David Zaharakis (Essendon), and Jake Kolodjashnij (Geelong), Adam Saad (Gold Coast SUNS), Tom Nicholls (Gold Coast SUNS), Stephen Coniglio (GWS GIANTS), Christian Salem (Melbourne), Majak Daw (North Melbourne), Jimmy Toumpas (Port Adelaide), Bachar Houli (Richmond), Aliir Aliir (Sydney Swans), Nic Naitanui (West Coast), Lin Jong (Western Bulldogs) and Jason Johannisen (Western Bulldogs).