His parents were born in Jalandhar in India but his grandfather who worked for the British Railroads decided to take his family to Africa.
In 1960, when Rajinder was 7 years old, his parents decided to move to England.
They located in Smethwick, Birmingham in the Midlands.
Although his father was a carpenter, both parents worked in the rail road business in which his mother’s side were involved in when in Kenya.
Rajinder went to Cape Hill Junior School and then onto Sandwell Boys.
It is here at one of the schools where he experienced racism and because of the prejudice shown towards him decided to change his name, not legally but by going to his school principal and asking if he could be called Roger Verdi. The name has stuck ever since.
Roger first became interested in football at a very young age when he was at a private school in Nairobi.
When in England he played throughout his youth for various teams. At the age of 14 he was spotted by a scout whilst playing for his local County team. The scout visited Roger’s home and signed him up as a schoolboy for Wolverhampton Wanderers who were then in the First Division of the English League.
Roger was with Wolves for a year but did not feel he was getting anything out of the situation and asked for a release.
Soon after he was invited for England Schoolboy trials at Villa Park and again was scouted, this time for Ipswich Town. He was asked to go for a two week trial and at the end of that, Roger was signed by the club, aged 15, who at the time were managed by the late Sir Bobby Robson.
He played in several different positions but settled in as a defensive midfield player, eventually moving further back and playing as a sweeper.
Roger stayed at Ipswich for four years in the youth system but was faced with the obstacles that so many Asians still face nowadays so we can only imagine the hurdles he had to try and overcome back then.
So it was agreed in a discussion with Sir Bobby Robson, that Roger could look elsewhere to further his career.
Through previous connections, Frank Upton, a coach at Aston Villa asked Roger to go and play a game on a Wednesday night against Notts County at Meadow Lane.
Although Villa lost 1-0, Roger played well and was asked to come down on the Saturday to play. His honest mistake was telling Ipswich Town, who refused to allow Roger to go that weekend because of injuries he was required to play against Reading that weekend.
Being on a contract he had no choice but to abide by what Ipswich wanted.
No one is saying Roger would have made it at Aston Villa but a door had been opened which at least gave him an opportunity.
Such are fine margins between success and failure.
On a lighter note after Roger left Ipswich, Eddie Firmani, the then Charlton Athletic Manager got in touch. Eddie who was Italian spoke to Roger about going to Italy to play on the basis he thought with a name like Verdi, he was also Italian!
Roger had to confess he wasn’t, guess they would have found out anyway once they saw him!
Bobby Cram who played for West Bromwich Albion and Colchester United, near Ipswich had an offer to go and coach in Vancouver in Canada. He had seen Roger play and liked what he saw and suggested to Roger to go with him and play for him.
After a few months in Vancouver, Roger played in an exhibition match against Montreal Olympique and the coach at the time was so impressed he asked Roger to go and play for them. Roger had joined the ranks of the NASL (North American Soccer League).
After spending two years with Montreal, Roger joined Miami Toros.
Between 1972 and 1978 Roger made 103 appearances between all his clubs which later included St Louis Stars and San Jose Earthquakes.
He played with and against legends such as Pele, Cruyff, Beckenbauer and Best along with numerous other household names.
After hanging up his boots Roger moved into coaching. Football being very new at the time it was easier for ex-players to get coaching roles. There were many camps and coaching clinics throughout America where Roger went out to and coached.
His first role with a club was as assistant coach to the then Manager Jimmy Melia (ex Liverpool and England) with the Cleveland Cobras and then he was assistant coach at Phoenix Inferno which was an indoor soccer team.
In 1994 Roger went back to the UK and took his coaching badge at Lilleshall and wanted to stay but found any roles very hard to come by.
He went back to the States and coached various select teams and is currently coaching at Andromeda FC, who are a currently a sister club to Tottenham Hotspurs.
Please click the Interview tab to read an interview with Roger Verdi.