Storm could have been a Socceroux

EXCLUSIVE: Central Coast Mariners defender Storm Roux is preparing to face Mexico with the All Whites in a crunch World Cup qualifier but, if not for red tape could have gone down a different path with the green and gold.

Born in Cape Town to South African parents but raised both in New Zealand and Australia, Roux has dual Kiwi and Australian nationality.

The right fullback moved to Auckland as a three year-old and then on to Perth at 13 where he received his football education.

He came through the ranks of Sorrento FC and Western Australia’s National Training Centre before joining Perth Glory and then Central Coast.

“Obviously my family’s all from South Africa but I moved to New Zealand when I was a really little kid,” Roux said.

“Grew up there, school there, all my mates and all my childhood memories are in New Zealand, but moved to Perth when I was 13. So I spent my childhood years in New Zealand growing up, so I do feel like a Kiwi, and at the same time I feel like an Aussie as well.”

After making his debut for the Glory first-team in the 2012-2013 A-League season, Roux then caught the eye at the Under-20 World Cup earlier this year with New Zealand.

The 20-year old revealed he had heard nothing from South Africa before going to the World Cup but had some contact from Football Federation Australia before the tournament.

“There was a little bit of interest there but there was a problem with citizenship,” he said.

“I didn’t have my citizenship in time, not that I was getting picked or anything, but there was a bit of interest. When it came down to it New Zealand contacted me and the thought of going to an Under-20 World Cup, I couldn’t turn that down.”

Roux’s impressive performances for the Junior All Whites in Turkey attracted the attention of the Mariners who signed him on a two-year deal.

“I was over in Perth and they [New Zealand] found out about me,” he said.

“I went to the camps for the Under-20s and got into the team. It was an unbelievable experience. The Under-20 World Cup helped prepare me for going into the Mariners.

“We played against teams like Uruguay and Croatia, which have big stars and very good players. I got picked up at the Mariners and it’s a great environment to be in.”

Roux has excelled at Bluetongue Stadium this season and has no regrets about heading east from the Glory.

“I was playing in the youth team most of the time,” he said.

“Josh Risdon’s over there and he’s a great player, and he’s a hard player to take his position. When the chance came for a professional contract with the Mariners, obviously I jumped at it. I’m very happy that happened.”

Roux’s meteoric rise has continued with his call-up by the All Whites in the 23-man squad for the two-legged World Cup playoff against Mexico.

He admits his selection came as a surprise and to potentially debut against the Tricolor in a World Cup qualifier would be a dream.

“I knew I might be in the mix for being in the squad,” Roux said.

“I’m obviously very excited to be part of the squad, it’s a big honour. To get on would be great.

“To be part of the squad is one thing but to get my first cap, in such a massive game in front of so many people, it would be amazing.

“There would be a lot of pressure because it’s such a high stakes game and there’s a lot of fans there but, at the same time, it would be an unbelievable experience and I’ll do what I can to help the team out.”