About the project

I started playing football when I was six years old. I immediately fell in love with it, so a few years later when my dad showed me a photo of the Pararoos, I was ecstatic. Not because I thought I’d ever play for them, but just to know that they existed was enough for me to keep working hard. In 2009, I was lucky enough to get selected in the Queensland football team for the Australian Youth Paralympic Games. We narrowly lost in the final, but the good news was I’d done enough to warrant selection in the open side for the next nationals. I struggled my first nationals, and after losing on penalties in the final, I knew I had to train harder. A year passed and at the next nationals, I played better, but we still lost. I needed to train harder. Another year went by, I improved, but we lost. I needed to train harder. This cycle continued, and in 2013, I got invited to my first Pararoo training camp. This meant a huge deal to me, even though I knew I wasn’t going to be selected. The fact that I was even being considered was enough. But I knew I had to train harder. The next nationals rolled around, we lost again, had to train harder. At about this time, our funding was cut. This was a massive blow, but it would not stop me from working. In the 2014 nationals, I had my best showing by far. We lost the final again, but after we regained funding, it was enough to get me invited to the next Pararoo training camp. I was in with a chance this time, I knew that, but it still wasn’t enough. I narrowly missed out on the side and went home more determined than ever. However, three days before my university exams were due to begin, I received a phone call from the manager of the Pararoos. One of the players had been injured. I needed to fly to Sydney the next day to join the team, before we all flew across to England. I couldn’t believe it. I got as much as I could sorted for Uni, packed my bags and flew out. Before I knew it, I was in England, training at the official training centre of the English Football team. Being as lucky as I was to even be there, I didn’t expect to play, but I got a chance. We were to face the world number 1’s, Russia, and to my surprise, I was starting. So here I was, on an exact replica of the Wembley Stadium pitch, wearing the green and gold, singing the national anthem, playing for the Pararoos, when a week before, I thought I’d be in the middle of a maths exam. We lost 4-0 to a far better side, who eventually won the tournament. We ended up having a disappointing tournament. I had to train harder. The 2015 nationals were held a few moths later. I played the best I have ever played, and won player of the tournament. It was a very proud moment, but we lost the final, so I still have to train harder.

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