Menu
Lifestyle

Shawn's a little soccer champion despite being blind

Shawn Rogers, 9, is legally blind, he plays soccer with Alstonville Cheetahs. The ball has bells in it so he can hear it. He scored a goal last weekend. Pictured here with his brother Rhyan Rogers, 7, who plays in the same team. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / Northern Star
Shawn Rogers, 9, is legally blind, he plays soccer with Alstonville Cheetahs. The ball has bells in it so he can hear it. He scored a goal last weekend. Pictured here with his brother Rhyan Rogers, 7, who plays in the same team. Photo Mireille Merlet-Shaw / Northern Star Mireille Merlet-Shaw

MOST kids enjoy kicking a soccer ball and nine-year-old Shawn Rogers is no different - he looks forward to getting on the pitch and playing every weekend.

But there is one constant hurdle for this young lad, as Shawn was born blind, due to optic nerve hypoplasia.

With almost no vision, his desire to participate in football has existed with increasing enthusiasm for a few years, so when his younger brother, Rhyan, wanted to play this season, Shawn was insistent that he should also join in.

He has the support and initiative of his mother Alicia and other family members, and now plays in the Under 7s at Alstonville with his brother.

A special soccer ball, with a bell inside, was purchased from Vision Australia and the scene was set for Shawn to join the game he loves.

A further challenge existed to provide Shawn with more mobility, remembering that he cannot see the ball, other players and has no visual recognition of space or activity that other players rely on in a game.

An idea adapted from Shawn's participation in cross country running at his school, Wollongbar Public, where a short length of rope was held by Shawn, guided gently by an adult, provided the Year 3 student with a level of freedom to move with more purpose and confidence.

Shawn's uncle, former Ballina premier division player Jackson Lang, has become Shawn's "football eyes", mentoring his nephew at every game and most training sessions.

Shawn's mum Alicia said her son's coaches, Rock Molinari and Dave Moore, had been "simply fantastic".

She said Shawn loved playing soccer and when he scored his first goal in a game on Saturday (two in fact), with one set up by his brother Rhyan, there was a beaming smile that lasted all day.

The budding young footballer doesn't say much, but described being "stoked" when scoring a goal, which he said was "lots of fun".

Alicia said adults were often initially unsure of what to say and how to react when they realised Shawn was vision impaired, but said other kids made no judgements, nor did they make any concessions.

"The kids play just as hard regardless of understanding Shawn is not as mobile as most of them and when Shawn gets knocked over, he just gets up and is determined to try even harder," she said.

Topics:  blind children editors picks lismore soccer sport



The Advocate's fresh new look online

We are updating the presentation of The Coffs Coast Advocate website today to enhance your online reading experience.

Today will see the launch of a new look Advocate website

Major development plans in pipeline for Corindi

The rezoning of the land will potentially enable around 33 new houses, a 6,100m2 commercial centre which will include a medical centre, and a 4,600m2 motel site with a restruarant/cafe and pool.

Medical centre, motel and dozens of new houses if plans are approved

Local Partners

Join Ivory Crush protest against elephant products

MAROOCHYDORE resident Sharon Pincott is calling on anyone who owns ivory or rhino horn products to surrender them as part of a national protest.

Skoda Superb wagon is spacious and nimble — the anti-SUV

Skoda Superb Wagon 162TSI.

Why drag an extra half a tonne of useless, expensive metal around?

5 words you are using incorrectly

VOCABULARY: This do would never homework where the word icon was incorrectly used.

How to avoid sounding like a teenager, even if you are one

To the stranger who Photoshopped my picture

This is what mum and I actually look like, imperfections and all. Photo: Supplied.

A stranger Photoshopped my pictures and shared them on Instagram

Don't delay: this test could save your life

LIFE-SAVING: Rob Patch is on a mission to convince people to have their sleep apnoea checked in order to prevent an early death.

"The doctors said I had come there to die.”

Cricket's Merv Hughes can’t stomach drink and drug-drivers

AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 26: Merv Hughes of Australia prepares to bowl on December 26, 1990 in Australia. (Photo by Getty Images)

former Australian cricketer’s first car was an HT Holden wagon.

Russia’s seedy ‘virginity trade’

On Russian social media, young girls and women are being recruited to sell their virginity to wealthy men. Picture: The Sun

Girls as young as 17 sell their virginity