Lynch reveals massive impact Pararoos made on his life
Taj Lynch has explained how being part of the Pararoos has changed his life both on and off the field.
The Pararoos take on Canada at Cromer Park in Sydney on Saturday, November 30, kick-off at 5.30pm AEDT, in their first match on home soil since the 2000 Paralympic Games.
The seven-a-side team is made up of players with cerebral palsy, an acquired brain-injury or symptoms resulting from a stroke, and all money raised from ticket sales helps fund the Pararoos travel to overseas competitions.
Ranked tenth in the world, the Pararoos will travel to Spain in 2020 to compete in World Cup qualifiers and the Canada contest is crucial to funding their participation.
Lynch told the panel on FOX Sports show Bill and Boz how being part of the Pararoos has had a huge impact on his life.
The 14-cap international recalled his journey into the sport, and said: “I was very young and definitely didn’t want to get out of the car when I got there.
“I went in and saw Chris Pyne, and Ben Atkins and Jack Williams, guys that I’ve now got to take the field with overseas, and they introduced me to the sport.
“I was very timid at first, but they we so open and welcoming and we just started kicking a ball.
“I felt connected these people because they understand how I feel.
“They have the same disability, they’ve been through the same things. And they can kick a football, have jobs and families.
“It was an awesome experience because you don’t have heaps of contact with other people with disabilities.
“Seeing them in a football environment made it very engaging and very easy to open up.”
While Lynch has been working hard to establish himself as an international footballer, he has also been putting in the hard yards off the pitch.
The Sutherland-native is studying for a double degree in Law and International Studies at University of Wollongong.
“Not many people can say they had their uni break playing a World Cup in Spain,” quipped the Pararoos defender.
The last match Australia played in that aforementioned 2019 IFCPF World Cup, was a playoff against Canada, where the Pararoos ran out 4-2 winners.
The rematch on Sydney’s northern beaches is a rare exhibition match for the Pararoos, which has been funded by FIFA, the FFA and the Sports Foundation.
Lynch believes the team can continue on an upward trajectory but explained to Bill and Boz the biggest challenge they face.
“One of the biggest things for us is funding,” he added.
“Unfortunately, we’re run entirely on donations so it’s hard enough as it is to get us overseas to the tournaments that we need to compete in to get our ranking up.
“Once you get all of that done, there’s not really much room for home friendlies.
“The same can be said for other teams as well, for getting over here to play their friendlies.
“Luckily for us, we’ve got funding through FIFA so we can bring Canada over here.
“Thanks to that, all of the ticket sales get to come back to us and fund overseas tours.”
Pararoos v Canada
Date: Saturday, 30 November 2019
Venue: Cromer Park (South Creek Road, Cromer, NSW)
Kick-off: 5.30pm AEDT
Tickets: Tickets on sale now via pararoos.com.au (100 per cent of ticket sales invested back into the Pararoos)