When the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown hit earlier this year, Pararoo Taj Lynch was forced to reflect on what was really important to him.
“COVID was a tough time because I lost those support networks that football gives me,” Lynch told Pararoos.com.au.
He added: “But it also made me realise and appreciate even more how important football is to my life, and how important the Pararoos’ family is, and the kids I coach and the people I play with are to me.”
Over the last few seasons Lynch has enjoyed giving back to football. He currently coaches North West Sydney Spirit’s Skill Acquisition Program (SAP) under 10s team.
“Taking on a SAP team was a very exciting opportunity for me because it’s representative football, it’s what we all wanted to do when we were kids,” said Lynch.
Watch the full Pararoos At Home feature with Taj Lynch below!
“I was never good enough at 10 to get into those programs, but now as a coach I think I can give a lot back to a program like that.
“As a coach you don’t just teach them football - everything you teach them carries from football into life and I learnt that from the people who have coached me.”
“Whether it was Kai with the Australian team or whether it was my state team coaches, they gave me things that improved my football, but then that also carried across into the way I carried myself as a teenager.”
Following in the footsteps of his role model coaches, Lynch is proud of the strong connection he has formed with his North West Sydney Spirit team.
“I think we had been training for a few weeks and they came along and watched me play against Canada for our first home game in 20 years,” he said.
“They brought big signs and they all cheered me on, so from the very start there was a huge connection between them and I. I very quickly became invested in them, not just as footballers but as people.”
At first, Lynch did not think COVID would bring his footballing lifestyle to a halt.
“When everything first started going through the media that COVID was more than just a passing thing - at first you’re always dubious that it’s going to affect you, or anything that you do within your life,” he said.
The changes were difficult at first. He particularly disliked having to coach his SAP squad over Zoom.
“My training sessions turned into fogging up the windows in my room while I was trying to do home workouts, which I hated,” he said.
“Football turned into watching old games on repeat instead of being able to watch new games and be excited about the season and things like that.”
He had planned to spend 2020 focusing on the Pararoos and coaching, however lockdown opened up a new opportunity.
“Having that time away made me really want to be a part of a club team and enjoy that environment,” he said.
“The opportunity came up to play with Ben Atkins at MRP FC and that was really exciting.”
Lynch is now making the most of the unique opportunities presented in this unprecedented year.
“It’s a good opportunity, I’m glad I’m now playing for a team this year.”