Sporting way to make friends

Sport liaison officer Susan Chuot discovered a love for sport when she arrived in Perth. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d408167
Sport liaison officer Susan Chuot discovered a love for sport when she arrived in Perth. Picture: Marcus Whisson www.communitypix.com.au d408167

The 21-year-old South Sudanese woman came to Perth as a refugee after spending the first 12 years of her life in a refugee camp in Kenya.

‘I remember that when I came here, as soon as I started playing soccer everything changed,’ she said.

‘It showed me the opportunities available to women in Australia. In Africa women doesn’t really play sports, but I soon found out that in Australia, if you are good enough, you can make State teams and progress in sport.’

The talented athlete earlier this year played in the WA women’s AFL team, which narrowly lost the grand final to the Victorian team, as well as playing for the Mt Lawley Hawks football team.

She was the only African woman playing in that competition.

Miss Chuot also plays soccer with the UWA soccer club, which will play in the finals next month.

She balances her sporting commitments with part-time work at the Edmund Rice Centre where she works as a sport liaison officer, connecting young Aboriginal children and kids from refugee and migrant backgrounds with sporting clubs.

‘I found sport has been really important as it provides an alternative way to make friends and learn the language,’ she said.

‘Football in particular is a very welcoming sport.’

Miss Chuot said she can see the important role sport plays through her seven brothers and sisters, each of whom either have played or continue to play a team sport such as soccer, netball or athletics.

‘My young brother is particularly interested in football; he comes down to watch me play every game. Hopefully next season he will join a club and get more involved,’ she said.

While enjoying playing sport, Miss Chuot said her aspirations lay elsewhere.

‘I really want to become a police officer. I like the uniforms,’ she said.