Suffolk Park to International Stage

July 1st, 2015

From Football Far North Coast:

Benn Roche is not a household name and not even widely recognised on the soccer field, except to his team-mates at Suffolk Park FC in the local Football Far North Coast competition. Benn is actually an national football star, being an integral member of the Australian National Paralympic football team (the Pararoos) that competed recently at the 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships in the UK.

Benn was raised in Victoria before relocating to Byron Bay 4 years ago and now plays with Suffolk Park FC, that was formed about 3 years ago.
He is also the Junior Coordinator for Suffolk Park Football Club. Benn has born with mild cerebral palsy that affects his right hand side, which provides some challenges, but allows this affable young man to find an outlet through football. From a young age Benn played soccer at various clubs and got his first Paralympic invite when he was 12 and remains a key member of the Paralympic team.

Attending his first tournament played in Connecticut in 2005, Roche has experienced much success representing Australia. He was a member of the silver medal winning squad that competed in the 2006 FESPIC Games (Far East and South Pacific Games for the Disabled) and also at the CP World Cup in Holland 2011. It was in that event where Roche scored 9 goals for the tournament, including 4 goals against Spain in the opening game enabling Australia to beat Spain for the first time.

Roche co-founded the Victorian Paralympic football program which now supports over 40 footballers with disabilities. Despite a withdrawal of funding for the Pararoos by the Australian Sports Commission in 2013, a subsequent partnership with Football Federation Australia has enabled the Pararoos team to inspire the next generation of players. Roche says, “The Pararoos are not only important for the players involved but to also show any person living with a disability that they can achieve whatever they set their mind to. Football is a really inclusive sport and provides great opportunities across all cultures.”

Upon returning from competing in the UK, Benn is hoping to kick start an all abilities program with the support of Suffolk Park FC, FFNC and local businesses. For more info please contact rochey_01@hotmail.com

The Pararoos won the first game in the 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships, defeating Portugal 2-0. Unfortunately they went on to lose their next 2 fixtures – going down 4-1 to Republic of Ireland and losing 5-0 to World Champions Russia.

Roche was joined at the 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships by fellow Northern NSW players James Turner (Diamond Beach) and Jack Williams (Valentine).

Northern NSW Football would like to congratulate the trio on their participation at the 2015 Cerebral Palsy Football World Championships and wish them success for their future footballing endevours.

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