DURING his time coming back from injury, Adam Saad has been trying to keep busy.

That’s a hard task for someone who describes himself as “a very boring person”.

“I spend a lot of time with my daughter, my wife and my immediate family plus really close friends. I go to the mosque every morning and every night, I do my prayers.

“It’s something that helps me find balance and put my mind at ease. I’m probably the annoying one in the family, I cause a bit of trouble around the house.

“I need to find a hobby. Maybe fishing — actually, I get seasick, so I probably can’t.”

It’s fortunate that what he does have is the Adam Saad Pathways. 

Just days after a hamstring injury, Adam Saad was back at IKON Park assisting with the Adam Saad Pathways Boys Academy.

Set up a number of years ago upon his arrival at the football club, the Adam Saad Pathways currently has six programs, with a view to establishing a seventh in the future. Its namesake has made no secret of his passion for developing multicultural youth both on and off the field, with the program having representation from the likes of Hong Kong, India, Ireland, the Phillipines and Sri Lanka.

And that commitment has extended far beyond just the No.42 at IKON Park, with a number of other teammates assisting in sessions and giving up their nights to help the next generation.

Charlie Curnow, Tom De Koning and Matthew Cottrell have joined assistant coach Aaron Hamill, while AFLW Blues Darcy Vescio, Mimi Hill and Amelia Velardo have been a further demonstration of just how committed those who wear Navy Blue are in helping not only one another, but young footballers who want to get the best out of themselves.

For the humble Saad, who prides himself on his dad humour but very rarely seeks out the limelight, he nonetheless loves that he can be a source of inspiration for plenty, and that thirst to provide was evident when he was present at an Adam Saad Pathways Boys Academy training session just days after a hamstring injury sidelined him.

“Having a multicultural background, kids maybe relate to me a little bit more. I’d love to see more Muslims and more multicultural players come into the system,” Saad told 3AW.

“The amount of smiles you see on kids’ faces, to be able to play footy and play in teams, it’s something where we love giving back. My program is not just purely footy: we help develop them on the field, but it’s more off the field about leadership, having good character and life habits that’ll let them live a good life for years to come.

“Having something named after you, kids wanting to join the program and making a difference is something I’m really passionate about. As a young boy from Brunswick that probably wasn’t meant to get drafted, it's crazy.”

But that he did.

After missing out on the draft as an 18-year-old, Saad could’ve been resigned to the fact that his football dream wasn’t going to happen. But he went to work at Coburg City Oval, eventually getting picked up by the Gold Coast Suns — Carlton’s opponent this weekend at Marvel Stadium.

For a young man from the northern suburbs who’s incredibly close with his family, the move up north came with quite the adjustment. However, his drive to succeed meant he wasn’t going to leave anything to chance. 

Adam Saad at an Adam Saad Pathways Girls Academy training session in January.

Now, he’s someone who is nearing 200 games at the elite level.

“A lot of 17 or 18-year-olds are at the crossroads and as soon as they miss that first draft, they say it’s not for them. In my case, I always had in my mind that I wanted to play AFL and I’ll do whatever it takes to get there.

“I didn’t really have a Plan B! I had to make it work. For me, it was always about trying to improve myself — going to the park, going for a run, improving my skills, eating well. I worked hard, got better and was fortunate enough to get onto an AFL list, and something I’m really proud of is being able to help support my family.

“I had everyone in my family in the northern suburbs, and I was the only one interstate. I found it pretty tough to be away from them . . . you grow as a person when you’re taken out of your comfort zone, I just thank God for the opportunity.”

Now hopefully nearing a return in the jumper which he has worn with such distinction since his arrival at the football club, that love for the game is once again going to be front and centre — one woof at a time.

“I live in - obviously one of the best suburbs in the north - Brunswick. I’ve grown up around IKON Park.

“It was only five minutes from home and playing for a big club, for me [coming in] it was to earn respect, work hard and pull on the Navy Blue jumper. I never take anything for granted.

“It’s been a rollercoaster ride, but I’m enjoying every moment of it.”