Adelaide Atletico Inclusion Academy, not limited by limitations

“I’m a massive ambassador for getting people with a disability out into the community and enjoying the social and physical benefits of sport.”

This is Chris Okely, Maxima DES Customer, Inclusion Academy Director at Adelaide Atletico Football Club, and Co-Captain of the Maxima-sponsored Inclusion Academy team – a local football (soccer) program designed to support those with disabilities and social issues journey into football.

Chris came to Maxima four and a half years ago, while between jobs, looking for assistance regarding a disability support wage, as well as assistance as he pushed to move from casual to part-time and full-time work.

“I saw an ad for Maxima and their values around what they did for people with a disability and helping them find employment.”

“Maxima was awesome with their support, and I feel pretty blessed – the support my Consultants Kylie and Jeanette gave me over the past couple of years has given me a tremendous amount of confidence.”

Moving into a casual role with the South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) as a Cricket Officer, before then moving onto the SANFL as a casual Game Development Officer, Chris’ love of sport and his connection to the community were guiding pillars in his career trajectory, ultimately leading to his position at Adelaide Atletico FC.

“Through my experience and support at work and Maxima, I feel like I’m flying mate, and why I had the confidence to start at AAFC.”

Contacted by Technical Director, Inclusion Coach and former Adelaide United player, Marcos Flores, Chris was asked to come on board at AAFC as the Inclusion Coordinator, transitioning into Inclusion Director and Club Committee member soon after.

As Director of Inclusion, Chris is working to build pathways for people with disabilities to get into football that may not be available at other clubs or mainstream programs.

“I call it disability and limitations – it’s not just people with a disability, it can also be people with social issues or maybe mainstream soccer just isn’t for you, we’re here for everyone.”

A massive coup for the program in recent times is their entry into the Bedford League, a disability league with weekly games in a competitive environment allowing players to wear the shirt, and play for real stakes, helping mimic a mainstream program.

In what was a pivotal financial decision for the club, AAFC decided to cover the registration and fee costs for all 15 of their players as part of entry into the Bedford League.

It is this decision, Chris says, that was make or break for the Inclusion squad and without which they would probably not have been able to field a team.

“It was a big decision and something I really pushed for and something Marcos (Flores) was supportive of.”

“It’s a massive thrill for myself and every player to represent the club and the shirt.”

“We had our first player transition from playing in our Inclusion league, with the confidence he got from playing and training every week, to playing in our mainstream U17s. we’re looking to get crossover between our Inclusion and mainstream programs – that’s our biggest goal.”

“Hopefully we can build a real pathway to the Pararoos (Australian Men’s Paralympic Soccer Team) that supports the national team, but also for those who just want to play club football here in SA in a safe environment.”

Experiencing firsthand the tailored support and values promoted by Maxima, Chris knew Maxima would be the perfect fit to sponsor Adelaide Atletico’s Inclusion Academy.

“We’re blessed to be partnered with Maxima, when I was looking for sponsors, I was excited to reach out to Maxima. We want sponsors who empower our mission – we don’t say fund our mission, we say empower. We are clear on the values we want in our sponsors.”

Maxima is incredibly proud to sponsor Chris and the AAFC Inclusion Team – LET’S GO ATLETICO!!!

To learn more about the Adelaide Atletico Inclusion Academy and how to get involved, you can contact Chris Okely at:

Mobile: 0416 875 557