On Friday 15 April Rohan Bloom, aged 14 years old, passed away after a long and brave battle with cancer. A talented sportsman, Rohan had excelled at many sports, one of his loves being soccer.
The next morning, the President of Grass Boots Football Club, Stuart Diamond, expressed the following after Grass Boot’s Saturday fixtures had been played all over the city.
“In our seven years I have never felt the club so sad and devastated. Grass Boots is more than a place where kids kick a ball. This club has deep love and care for its members. Today each team had a moment of silence before its games. In each game Grass Boots went 1-0 down and through the vines, on the whisper of our mountain air you could hear Rohan saying ‘come on guys, we’re still in this’. I could recall the respect Rohan’s team mates had as he would take them to new heights with his leadership. He had a fight, a never-say-die attitude that so many respected. He always played 120% to the very last blow of the whistle. As the games progressed today you could feel his presence as the u12 won 3-2, u14 won 4-1 and u15 drew 2-2.
Rohan understood Grass Boots and all that we stand for and for me that was the mark of this young man. To Rod, Kim, Kiran and Carys please know that he will never be forgotten. He has taught us all so much and will continue to do so into the future.”
In the weeks that followed Rohan’s passing, Stuart felt that the few games Grass Boots were playing in his memory each week were not enough. It was then that Grass Boots Football Club teamed up with Nitros Events to organise a Memorial Day where teams could play and raise funds for the Rohan Bloom Trust.
On 27 August well over fifty teams descended onto the United Herzlia School fields at Van Riebeeck Park. It was testament to Rohan and all he achieved in his life that the teams played in the true spirit of sportsmanship. The juniors kicked off at 08:30. This was followed by the u15 side taking on Chelsea and u17 playing Rygersdal. A special memorial game for Rohan Bloom was then played as a curtain raiser for the Grass Boots first team who took on Tramway in their Cape Town Tygerberg Football Association league match. A Legends girls team played Grass Boots girls before the reserve side continued their title push against Tramway. The third division clash between Grass Boots and Rygersdal ended the day.
The highlight of the day was when the Grass Boots u14 team played against an u15 team made up of Rohan’s friends and classmates.
To all those involved it was a deeply moving day with many sharing fond memories of their friend. Grass Boots and Nitros plan to roll out the Rohan Bloom Memorial Soccer Day on an annual basis so as to raise funds and awareness for youth suffering with cancer.
The Rohan Bloom Foundation was established in Rohan’s honour to continue his legacy by assisting families to identify the best treatment options available for children diagnosed with cancer, to find emotional support for these families and bring joy to these children.
Grass Boots Football Club is the only SAFA registered football club in the Cape Town City Bowl. The club runs as a non-profit, using funds raised by full-paying members to subsidise those who cannot afford the fees. It believes that no child should ever be denied access to play the game they love for financial reasons.