Female Sports Volunteer of the Year award nominees – Parramatta FC
Written by Tony Salerno on 29 October 2021
By Suhaib Khan and Brodie Pedersen
The Female Sports Volunteer of the Year Award recognises the importance of volunteering and the impact women make in the community. Parramatta FC know this first hand, as volunteers Rowah Abd, Susy Bruneau and Jo Elder are integral pillars of the club.
Rowah, Susie and Joe have various roles including managing age group teams, canteen duties and ordering uniforms for the kids. Susie and Joe are also a part of Parramatta FC’s board.
Susie started volunteering when her son began playing for the team. At that time, Susie thought she would try to help get the club up & running with her organisational skills and experience from being a teacher.
But, over the past nine years, Susie has forged a strong bond with Rowah and Joe.
“Our friendship has really been strengthened over the past few years, where we just can rely on each other to help out. So, it’s really important that we’re all there together”.
Whereas for Joe, who is in her third year with the club, volunteering is about seeing the kids enjoy themselves.
“My main objective is to make sure that they (the kids) thoroughly enjoy it, and also that the parents want to come back every year to foster those relationships and to create such a family within the club. And that’s what I think we’re sort of working towards in our charity, which is amazing”.
Rowah recognises the important role of female involvement amongst a majority of male volunteers.
“Very important and it makes it feel really good. Because as you know, a lot of clubs are just male-dominated. Having that bit of a female (presence), It’s good to have”.
Susie agreed with Rowah, adding that “It’s important to have women in these roles, to show that we’re doing more than just sort of running a canteen or doing that sort of job. We’re actually really out there assisting with the selection of players, and just the biggest things that are usually left to the men”.
Rowah, who has been with the club for two years now, would love to be able to share the award with Susie and Joe, two of her closest colleagues within the club.
“Having these two lovely ladies with me, it makes it so much worthwhile and I would not look back”.
Their volunteering efforts didn’t stop during the lockdown, with weekly meetings and social media posts helping Rowah, Susie and Joe keep in contact with players.
“We spent a lot of time contacting the players individually just to make sure that they’re okay and keeping them up to date with all of the changes in what’s happening. As well as our social media accounts that we run. We also have an internal sort of communication platform that we run with our players”.
All three admire the family culture that has been built at Parramatta FC. Susie has been able to spend time with her son, while Joe added that there is a sense of belonging.
“Seeing the club evolve, grow bigger and watching the children master new skills (and) forming new friendships. It’s such a thrill to watch them and see them grow and thrive. I like being a part of the family”.
Rowah, Susie and Joe have done amazing work in growing a female volunteering presence at Parramatta FC and the communities surrounding the club. They are a strong candidate for Alive 90.5FM’s first Female Sports Volunteer of the Year Award recipients.
The winner of the award will receive a once in a lifetime experience to commentate one of their club’s junior grand finals with the Alive 90.5FM commentary team.