WAFL migrant profile: passion for development at West Perth

Chris Erikson with son Keeran.
Chris Erikson with son Keeran.

Chris Erikson has served in many executive positions in his 25-year career in digital media, information technology and telecommunications industries.

Chris is currently in his sixth term serving as chair of the West Perth District Football Development Council for the West Australian Football Commission. This role covers all levels of football and strategic direction within the West Perth District.

During the past two decades, he has worked directly and indirectly with global brands including New York Yankees, Manchester United, All Blacks and NZ Netball. He has also worked with the Super Rugby franchises Stormers, Canterbury Crusaders, and Wellington Hurricanes as well as Australian Rugby League. Chris serves as chair of Irene McCormack Catholic College and Mindarie Primary School boards.

Q&A with Chris

Place of Birth: Tuatapere, Southland. New Zealand.

Time in Australia: We arrived in Australia about nine years ago.

Current role in football:

Chair of West Australian Football Commission Council of Chairs. We deliver participation outcomes under the District Development Model for 96 per cent of the West Australian football market via our nine metropolitan districts. I have also served as chair for the West Perth District Football Development Council.

Finally, I am very proud to serve as a director for West Perth Football Club. In addition, I am a runner for the Colts side, and a manager/runner for the development teams (14s, 15s and 16s).

What sports did you grow up with? Like many Kiwis, I came from a very passionate rugby family.

My uncle was an All Black with a no nonsense reputation. My father always found time to be part of my rugby and they both provided inspiration and drive for me to want to play.

Later in life, I got involved in the commercial side of sport via my day job, initially with Vodafone. I recall convincing my wife Tania to jump on a plane to attend a rugby game when our daughter Emilee was only four to five days old. It was literally hospital to the plane to the rugby. I believe she is still the official youngest patron at that particular stadium where she got to meet the great Jonah Lomu.

Why do you love Australian Rules football?

I love the speed, the geography that is covered, the lack of rules, the legacy, the tribalism, the overall spectacle and the lack of barriers to participate – the game doesn’t care about race, age or sex.

What WAFL club do you support?

I have a great deal of gratitude and respect for West Perth. The club’s rich history and loyal fan base has not at all affected its ability to change and transform with market demands.

This has enabled our district and club to break a great deal of new ground. Great examples are our International Round, which delivers a platform for new Australians and our Football Fundamentals program, which caters for pre-Auskick girls and boys.

What AFL club do you support?

I love providing this answer – I don’t support any side. I respect the role AFL clubs play within the player, coach and umpire pathway, but with Saturday dedicated to West Perth and Sunday dedicated to watching our children play junior football, it’s a little hard to justify.

However, I will support clubs to which West Perth players have been drafted. For example, my family and I watched every minute of the round one game between the Bulldogs and Dockers because it was former Falcons player Marcus Adams’ debut.