Darren's son Evan has been involved in the Every Player Counts project with the Community Trust for the past two years.
- Evan attends weekly Every Player Counts sessions at Wigan Youth Zone.
- He represents Latics in the Greater Manchester Ability Counts league.
- Darren and Evan were on the club’s podcast – Latics Listen – last week.
Darren Sephton, Father of 14-year-old Evan who has dyspraxia and is part of Wigan Athletic Community Trust’s Every Player Counts disability sports programme, has hailed the positive impact Latics’ award-winning charity have had on his son’s development.
A student at Hawkley Hall High School, Evan has been attending weekly Every Player Counts sessions with the Community Trust at Wigan Youth Zone for the past two years and now represents the club’s junior disability football team in the Greater Manchester Ability Counts League.
Every Player Counts is a scheme aimed at getting more people with disabilities involved in football and sport, with coaches from the Trust having worked with more than 600 people with disabilities across the Wigan Borough as part of the programme.
The Father and son took part in the club’s podcast – Latics Listen – last week following the news the club had been named the EFL North West Community Club of the Year, where they discussed Evan’s journey in-depth and how working with the Trust has proven life-changing for him.
You can listen to Darren and Evan on episode 29 of our podcast, Latics Listen, or read an excerpt from them below. Starts at 23:28.
Darren said: “When Evan was diagnosed we knew nothing about Dyspraxia, we didn’t know what it was or what it entailed, so for us as a family it was a massive learning curve.
“Around Evan’s eighth birthday the Euro Championships were on and he was captivated by the sights and sounds of competitive football, even though he hadn’t really shown an interest until then.
“I was really pleased when he started to take an interest in football because it gave me a soul mate.
“When he started taking an interest, he wanted to start supporting his local club so we went to our first Latics game in 2012 against Bradford City where we unfortunately lost on penalties.
“We’re Latics home and away now and just absolutely love it. We’ve had some great days following the club and support them through thick and thin.”
The Community Trust work with more than 12,000 people across the borough each year, aiming to Improve Health, Enhance Life Chances and Create Stronger, Safer Communities.
“Latics get it right, right through from an early age when Evan took an interest in football, the community side of the club shone through.
“The Community Trust have quite literally changed Evan’s life. To see his confidence grow, to see him develop and improve his social skills is testament to the programme they’re running.
“As a parent, to see your child pull on a Latics shirt and to represent his local club is such a proud moment and if it wasn’t for the Trust then that opportunity may not have presented itself to Evan.”
And asked to describe the feeling of pulling on the blue and white of Latics, Evan replied…
“It feels like you’re a professional player on the pitch. I enjoy playing because I’ve made lots of friends and people want to learn like I do, so it’s competitive which is what it’s all about.
“We win some and we lose some, but when we score goals for Latics there’s no better feeling than that.”
Please email Joe Pym on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01942 318090 for more information about the Every Player Counts project.
Wigan Athletic Football Club, Wigan Athletic Community Trust and the DW Stadium are committed to respecting and promoting equality and diversity across all its activities through ‘Together’.
Click here for more information about Together.