African Girl Takes AFL by Storm

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Meet Susan Chuot, the first African woman to make the WA State Team. Born in Southern Sudan, her family quickly fled to Kenya a couple of months after she was born to escape the war.

Susan’s AFL journey began at Aranmore Catholic College, when she was invited to play in the youth girl’s team for East Perth. Susan took a hiatus from AFL to pursue her long time passion, soccer, for the next few years. 

“I grew up with soccer, and it really helped me through my teenage years, but I never forgot my footy experience.”

Her time in AFL must have had an impact, because Susan made her re-entry into AFL in 2011 through the Edmund Rice Centre Lions, a team of young people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CaLD) backgrounds. 

“I had been involved in the Edmund Rice programs for some time, coaching their Aboriginal Soccer Team, when I was invited to be the first female player for the Lions.”

Susan quickly excelled in the Lions, kicking the teams’ first goal in her first match. She then went on to receive the “player of the match” award at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) Cup, which the Lions won.

Usually, players are only allowed to play for the Lions for a season before they are moved on to a local club, but because Susan joined in late 2011, she was asked to captain the team in 2012.

“Captaining the Lions was a learning experience. It was fun and also an honour because I was captaining a group of boys.”

After her 2012 season with the Lions, Susan put her soccer career on hold to join the Mount Lawley Football Club, where she quickly made an impression.

“It was a tough transition to regular girls AFL; these girls meant business.”

But she quickly established her dominance and was soon asked to come down and train with the WA State Team.

“The invitation to train with the WA State Team was a goal I had set myself at the beginning of the year,” says Susan.

“The hard work then began to make selection.”

The work paid off, as Susan was selected for the team a few weeks later.

“Being selected to represent WA at the national competition was a dream come true. I can’t wait.”

Like many former Lions players, Susan will always look back on her time with the Lions with fondness and is still active in helping the team, along with the Butler Falcons, the CaLD female AFL team launched by the Edmund Rice Centre in early 2013.

“These programs are where we all started and I am always there to help the younger players by teaching the skills that I have learned in my journey. I hope to see many young African girls coming through the ranks of AFL and hopefully into the State team one day.”

The Edmund Rice Centre Lions are supported by the Department of Sport and Recreation and the Department for Communities, along with the West Australian Football Commission, the City of Stirling and Fairgame WA.

“We’re delighted that a project we have so enthusiastically supported is fostering athletes like Susan Chuot,” says Ron Alexander, Director General of the Department of Sport and Recreation.

“She is a wonderful example of the power of sport.”

“We support programs like this because it’s an important way of welcoming new Australians into our community, sharing our passion for sport and a healthy lifestyle with them as well as offering an opportunity to make new friends.”

For more information about how you can follow and support the team, please contact the Edmund Rice Centre on 9349 9660 or email

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