In 2015, the Pararoos program was cut by the Australian Sports Commission under the controversial ‘Winning Edge’ policy, which requires all Aussie Paralympic sporting teams to be ranked in the top five in their discipline in order to qualify for funding.

The decision was devastating to Pararoos mainstay Ben Atkins, who said the Pararoos had given him purpose and self-belief, and that he is always incredibly proud to represent Australia.

“We had no program anymore, the program was put on ice. It took a lot of lobbying from past stars and conversations with FFA to get a model up and running to give us a lifeline,” Atkins told FTBL last year.

“The irony is that we then journeyed to Argentina and achieved what we achieved – which is the basis for the documentary – we were 1-1 at full-time with Argentina, who are a top-five nation.

“I honestly don’t understand the Australian Sports Commission’s policy – I know there are a lot of great sports out there that deserve funding, but personally I would have loved to have the funding continue.

“I tied my identity to football. I didn’t realise that people with disabilities could go on to achieve whatever they wanted to in life.

“Going in there and seeing those that would go on to become my teammates showed me anything was possible.”

Flash forward and the Pararoos are heading to Spain for the IFCPF World Cup and gunning for World Cup glory.

The Pararoos have improved at each World Cup campaign, culminating in an impressive yet emotional 10th placed finish at the 2017 tournament in Argentina, after their preparations were wracked by funding uncertainties.

This campaign was subsequently featured in the hit documentary 'The Pararoos' by Fox Sports' Tom Ferguson, which detailed the team's incredible journey and helped raise private funds to send the squad to this year's World Cup in Seville, Spain.

Now head coach Kai Lammert has named his squad for the competition, with a plethora of fresh-faced youngsters seeking to upset three of the world's best teams in the group stage.  

“Our preparation for this year’s IFCPF World Cup has been thorough with the team having had three camps at Football New South Wales’ headquarters in Glenwood in the build up to the tournament,” Lammert said. 

“The time that we will have in Oberhaching will help us fine tune our plans leading up to the tournament, and the games that we will play against Germany, who are also bound for the World Cup, will offer fantastic preparation.

“The 14 players that have been selected for this year’s World Cup have all overcome obstacles in their lives to earn selection in this squad, so it is a special moment for all of the boys that have been picked and they are ready to represent Australia with passion and pride,”

The 2019 IFCPF World Cup will be held between 4-20 July 2019, with the Pararoos set to play their opening match against Ukraine on Sunday, 7 July. 

Upcoming Matches

Germany v Australia – International Friendly

Date: Monday, 1 July 2019

Location: Munich, Germany

Kick-off: 7.00pm (local); 3.00am – Tuesday, 2 July 2019 (AEST)

Germany v Australia – International Friendly 
Date: Tuesday, 2 July 2019

Location: Munich, Germany

Kick-off: 7.00pm (local); 3.00am – Wednesday, 3 July 2019 (AEST)

Ukraine v Australia – 2019 IFCPF World Cup 
Date: Sunday, 7 July 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Kick-off: 9.00am (local); 5.00pm (AEST)

Australia v Argentina – 2019 IFCPF World Cup
Date: Tuesday, 9 July 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Kick-off: 9.00pm (local); 5.00am – Wednesday, 10 July 2019 (AEST)

Australia v Spain – 2019 IFCPF World Cup
Date: Thursday, 11 July 2019
Location: Seville, Spain
Kick-off: 11.00am (local); 7.00pm (AEST)

Pararoos Squad | 4-20 July 2019 | 2019 IFCPF World Cup | Seville, Spain

Name (City, State)

International Caps (Goals)

Ben ATKINS (Sydney, NSW)

62 (4)

David BARBER (Rockhampton, QLD)

89 (69)

Connor BUNCE (Torbay, WA)

0 (0)

Daniel CAMPBELL (Coffs Harbour, NSW)

6 (2)

Cosimo CIRILLO (Mildura, VIC)

4 (1)

Matthew HEARNE (Melbourne, VIC)

14 (0)

Alessandro LA VERGHETTA (Perth, WA)

5 (1)

Taj LYNCH (Sydney, NSW)

6 (1)

Angus MACGREGOR (Melbourne, VIC)

6 (1)

Augustine MURPHY (Sydney, NSW)

5 (0)

Christopher PYNE (Springwood, NSW)

95 (20)

Benjamin ROCHE (Lennox Head, NSW)

44 (24)

Bradley SCOTT (Bunbury, WA)

3 (1)

Benjamin SUTTON (Sydney, NSW)

4 (0)