‘ Saad squad’ role model
GOLD Coast defender Adam Saad says his work in the multicultural space has shaped his career as much as his onfield feats.
When Saad first arrived via the 2014 rookie draft the unknown Melbourne product just dreamt of playing an AFL game.
Saad was the only practising Muslim to play for either Queensland clubs and from the moment he arrived at the Suns he became a beacon for those wishing to follow his footsteps and others who found the game through him.
It was a tag he didn’t ask for but one he embraced as much as his football.
Saad will play in Gold Coast’s Round 19 game against Richmond at Metricon Stadium on Saturday as part of multicultural round.
The rebounding defender said his work had helped shape him as a footballer and as a person.
“When I first came here I was more worried about getting a game and staying on an AFL list,” Saad said.
“The more mature and more months I stayed here and more comfortable I got I saw that and saw how much it has changed me,” Saad said.
“I have matured as a person and all the work I have been doing in the community with the ( Australian Islamic International) College across the road ( from the club at Carrara) and to see how much the kids absolutely love it.
“I have got a ‘ Saad Squad’ now and to see how much that will hopefully develop and continue on.
“I never thought that I could get to that point but you just grow and learn every day and that’s the way I’m taking it. It is sinking in and I’m taking it in my stride now and be a good role model for these kids.”
Saad said he cherished the opportunity he had to grow the game on the Gold Coast the way Richmond’s Bachar Houli has done in the southern states.
“It’s something I’m really passionate about,” Saad said.
“The Muslims on the Gold Coast and in Melbourne, to get them involved and to love the game the way I do is something I really want to push forward with Bachar Houli as well.
“He is a role model of mine and to see the way he has gone about his footy and his religion to bridge the gap and make everyone fall in love with this great game.
“AFL is a game that invites all backgrounds and cultures and to see everyone play that one game is something really special.”