Called up to the Pararoos training camp earlier this year, 15-year old Evan Moorby sees himself as a role model in the making for the next generation of para-footballers.
The youngster, who still plays with Brindabella Blues started playing there when he was seven years old and hasn’t looked back. Diagnosed with Cerebal Palsy, Evan did not know about para-football until he was 13 when his classmate Claire Falls invited him to the FEVER Football-a-thon event she was hosting.
“The head coach of the Pararoos was there,” Moorby said, “and he asked me to go and play at the National Championships that year.”
Moorby did so, enjoyed it, and is now heavily involved in both para-football and mainstream football as he reaches the final years of his schooling.
“I still enjoy mainstream football because I get to play with all my friends,” he said.
“It’s always fun and it’s a different type of environment to para-football, because you’re playing with people your age and it’s just a really good experience.”
Within the Pararoos camp the ages of athletes varies greatly, however Evan says that it only serves to benefit him, with the older players happy to take on a leadership role and offer advice to the younger members of the group.
“The older guys in camp are very good for the younger people,” he said.
“They’re very helpful, they mentor us a lot and tell us things that we should know moving onto the future and help us quite a lot. Like just small things, the professionalism, how we should be dressed when we’re in public representing the team and the like.”
Moorby says it would be great if he can reach the same spot, and help people younger than him to both become involved in para-football and go far in the program. The youngster represents a great example of a model footballer, beginning his third year of refereeing this season as a Level Four referee.
“I didn’t hear about Para Football until a couple of years ago,” he said.
“So I think it’s good and important that we reach out more to the younger generation to let them know there’s more pathways, places to work towards and they can set goals.”
Mum Kathleen Moorby agrees, and said that the recent boost in promotion and participation has been great for the sport and all participants.
“People who have different abilities should have greater awareness of the opportunities for them to go on and achieve their aspirations, particularly in a competitive environment,” she said.
“Everyone should have the opportunity to enjoy sport; sport is a real leveler, where everyone can participate to the best of their ability.”
If you or someone you know is interested in participating Para-Football, head to the Football Connect page on our website, or contact a member of our Game Development team.