Sarah Loh – CEO of SMJFL

Sarah Loh represents everything that is great about AFL and who we are as a nation. As a CEO of the South Metro Junior Football League in Melbourne’s South East, every day she gets to live out her childhood dream of being involved in AFL every day. Sarah is also passionate about creating a welcoming space for everyone and anyone.


[Sarah Loh]: In 1977, my parents and my two older brothers migrated from Malaysia. 

My mother actually studied here as an eighteen-year-old girl, and she made dad promise that when they got married she wanted to bring her kids up in Australia. The advice from my parents when we first came to Australia was to immerse ourselves in the culture which was all about sport. 

When I was a little girl I wanted to play sport. That was just a great way for me to make friends and to feel like I was belonging. I could actually see the connections, the friendships I was making. I was just having fun. 

I remember the first time I ever watched a football game on TV. The first team that I barracked for, which was St Kilda Football Club, and I just thought, I want to play for St Kilda and I want to be a football player. 

The best thing about Australia is that everyone is equal and there’s that sense of belonging when you go and do some community activities or when you try different things. 

What I love about Australians is that they love people. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, or who you are, or what gender you are. As long as you’re having a go and you’re trying – that’s what made me belong. Being part of any sporting team, but especially AFL and playing football – those friendships that you form are set for life. 

The one piece of advice that I would give, have a go, just try different things. Don’t be afraid. 

I’m so thankful for my parents. For making this decision to come to Australia. The opportunities we’ve been given, for the seven-year-old girl in me who just wanted to be a football player, I now get to run a football league. That’s choice. That’s opportunities. 

For more information about The South Metro Junior Football League, visit

This post is also available in: 简体中文 (Chinese Simplified) 繁體中文 (Chinese Traditional) Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese) العربية (Arabic)

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