Teenage dream: The junior CP footballers forging paths to Pararoos stardom

When the 2019 National CP Football Championships get underway at Football NSW headquarters, teenagers Jeremy Boyce and Joshua Beekes will be playing to prove they have what it takes to become future Pararoos.

In a competition fielding players as young as 13, Jeremy Boyce says at just 15 years of age he already feels as though he can become a leader in the NSW Blue side in his second year competing at the tournament.

“Last year’s Nationals being my first, I was really nervous,” Boyce said.

“But coming into this year I’m feeling a lot more confident.

It's a huge week of CP (cerebral palsy) football in Sydney's west. Click here to learn more about the 2019 National CP Football Championships.

“Playing for NSW last year and winning gold, I can show some of the other kids playing for NSW Blue this year what they can do.”

Boyce’s love of the game grew as he did, watching his heroes in the Hyundai A-League and dreaming of following in their footsteps.

“I always looked up to the Mariners players and wanted to be like them,” Boyce said.

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“From a young age I wanted to play alongside them, but different paths have come along like the Pararoos and now that’s my goal. I just keep setting my own goals and wanting to reach them.”

With a future in the Pararoos as his prime inspiration, Boyce believes the National Championships is the perfect place for him to show the best of the best in Australian CP football exactly what he’s got to offer them in the future.

“You’re playing alongside Pararoos players,” Boyce said.

“Quite a lot of the players in my team have made their national debuts and are strong players in the team so it’s a great chance for me to compare myself to those players and show the coaches what I can bring to the table for them.”

Similarly to Boyce, 16-year-old Joshua Beekes has prior experience in the National Championships, playing the previous two competitions with Victoria from the age of 14.

“I began playing football at the age of seven,” Beekes said.

READ: Everything you need to know about the 2019 National CP Football Championships 

Full fixture list for the 2019 National CP Football Championships

“I’ve been playing football ever since and I’ve grown a passion for it; it’s the first sport I ever took part in and tried my best at and it really fell into place with the rest of my life.”

But Beekes has not been as fortunate as Boyce in the National Championships; his Victoria side has fallen short in the two years he has played in the competition, losing the gold medal match on both occasions.

“For the last two years we have been in the gold medal match but unfortunately lost both to NSW, but hopefully we can turn that around this year,” Beekes said.

“This year our goal is to definitely get that gold medal and hopefully we can pull that off with a bit of grit.”

But that won’t be the only thing spurring Beekes on when the competition kicks off on Thursday morning.

Much like all of the youngest competitors in the tournament Beekes will be out to put an early marker down for Pararoos consideration in the future.

“I’m one of the three youngest players in our squad, so I’ve got a lot of people to look up to but it’s more of a challenge for me to show my best in what I do,” Beekes said.

“I would love to play for the Pararoos one day, and it just starts with doing my best at Nationals and hoping I get recognised.

“It’s been a good experience over the years and hopefully I can do even better this year.”

The Pararoos competed at the 2019 IFCPF World Cup, Spain, in July