SPEARWOOD resident Chris Minutillo claimed the Inspiration Award at Clubs WA’s awards night on Saturday.
The 18-year-old, who has cerebral palsy and an intellectual disability, has excelled since taking up soccer with the Cockburn City Soccer Club.
The super-quick striker has played Associated Catholic College soccer and been part of WA’s Paralympics side.
Last year Minutillo helped deliver silver for Australia at the Special Olympic World Games in Los Angeles, netting seven of his side’s eight goals during the competition.
Proud mum Sue said the Inspiration Award was reward for hard work.
“From the day Chris walked on to the soccer pitch, he hasn’t looked back,” she said.
“It’s his life. When he’s not here he’s either playing it on the PlayStation or he’s watching it on TV.
“It’s the first thing he thinks about in the morning and the last thing he thinks about at night.”
Mrs Minutillo hoped other parents would use her son’s story as inspiration.
“We’re very proud of him and all the kids who get out there on the field every Sunday, regardless of disability,” she said. “Give it a go. Find what your child’s good at and go with it, because look what they can achieve.”
Racing and Gaming Minister Colin Holt praised Chris for his hard work and commended clubs around the state.
There are some 320,000 Western Australians registered as a member of a club.
“No matter where you live in WA – remote areas or metropolitan Perth – everyone wants a sense of belonging and I think that’s where the club movement is,” he said.
“To be a member of a club means you belong and I think last night was a celebration of that belonging and rewarding the clubs, participants, and volunteers that do it best, and the leaders in those clubs.”