The Socceroos. Australia’s football heroes.
The Matildas. Bringing attention to women in sport.
The Pararoos. Climbing back after losing all of their federal funding.
Soccer is becoming one of the most popular sports in Australia and with the recent successes of the Socceroos in the Asian Cup and the Matildas becoming Australia’s most successful World Cup team, it becomes clear that Soccer is not only played and supported by thousands, but it has also become a part of the Australian sporting identity.
After spending a day with University of Wollongong engineering student, James Turner, he seems like any other 19-year-old but how many can say they have travelled the world to represent their country wearing the prestigious green and gold?
Abu Dhabi. Ukraine. Canada. Spain. England. They are just some of the places the Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships has taken him. He reflects on his trip to Abu Dhabi and how “completely different the culture is,” he says, “every second car was a Bentley!” The experience of the tournament itself and the quality of football he witnessed provided him with an “eye opener to what [he] could be in the future”. The experience highlighted how big the Cerebral Palsy Football championship was around the world, and noted that Australia had a bit to catch up, “they are various serious about it in Russia, for instance. It is not as recognised here so there is work to do.” The Australian Pararoos are currently ranked 12th in the world.
The Pararoos were hit by major funding cuts by the Australian Sports Commission last year which saw their yearly funding of $175,000 cut to $0. The Football Federation of Australia responded by raising funds for the team’s training and their next world championships in June 2015 in which Australia come out with 1 win and 2 losses.
The class of football played by these men in this competition cannot go unrecognised. “They know how to play CP football!” James says about the Ukrainian team. Whilst on tour in England, he had a chance to see the top ranked teams, Russia and Ukraine, go head-to-head in what James described as “amazing”, noting that it would be possible for those teams with those skills to “win the A-League”.
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Special thanks the Australian Pararoos for the use of some of their photographs in this projects.
Second Nature by Audionautix is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution licence (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)