AFL has always been Abdullah Haddad’s, first love.
Growing up in Toowoomba, Abdullah began playing junior football for his local club the University Cougars in 2006 and during his ten years at the club witnessed a positive cultural shift in the region.
“When I started U12’s I was one of the only multicultural players, then by the time I was in U16’s I was playing alongside a diverse range of ethnicities,” he said.
Abdullah earned numerous accolades during his junior days representing Queensland in the Diversity National Championship, All-Nations Cup and Kickstart Championship, received the Kim Thomas Medallist and captained the University Cougars to three Grand Finals.
Following high school, Abdullah took a leap by applying for a Gold Coast SUNS traineeship through AFL Sports Ready, which saw him pick up and move to the Gold Coast as a 17 year old.
“It was scary walking in on my first day, but I’m so grateful to have had that exposure.”
After receiving a certificate III in business, Abdullah worked closely with the Gold Coast SUNS consumer and community teams where he was able to engage and interact daily with SUNS members through events, game day activities, and over the phone.
“The support provided by the Gold Coast SUNS and AFL Sports Ready team was incredible, whether it be practical work or struggles with school they are always there to assist.”
At the beginning of 2021, Abdullah fulfilled a childhood dream, beginning work at the AFL.
In his new role as a Diversity Coordinator, Abdullah hopes to play a small part in driving greater inclusion for all areas of Queensland football, from Auskick through to Senior. As well as give boys and girls from culturally diverse backgrounds the opportunity to learn the skills and rules of Aussie rules through programs like Many Cultures.
“When you are working in the sport you love, you want to give back as much as you can, and I hope I’m able to do that in my new role.”
When he’s not working, you’ll find Abdullah playing senior footy for the Sherwood Magpies.