For Christian Tsangas, there is no greater honour than being selected to play for the Pararoos.
The 21-year-old goalkeeper from Bundoora will be part of the Pararoos squad that flys to Iran in November to compete in the International Federation for Cerebral Palsy Football’s Asia-Oceania Championships.
Tsangas, who took part in his first Pararoos senior competition in 2016, was diagnosed with mild cerebral palsy at nine months old.
The condition affects his agility but doesn’t prevent him from also playing in an ‘able-bodied’ competition with Thornbury Athletic.
“Being part of the Pararoos is great. It is nice to play with other players who have similar abilities,” Tsangas said. “There is also a great social aspect, and there is no higher honour than representing your country.”
Tsangas has been playing football since he was six, initially viewing the game as a way to develop his agility and flexibility.
He joined Thornbury Athletic a couple of years ago and credits the team with helping develop his game.
To help raise money for the Pararoos’ trip
to Iran, the team recently held a special screening of a documentary sharing the players stories.
Filmmaker Tom Ferguson followed the team around, documenting the players’ stories in the lead-up to the 2017 World Championships in San Luis, Argentina.
Tsangas said having a camera follow him around was a surreal experience but he hoped the documentary would encourage more people to get behind the team.