Matthew attends our weekly ‘Ability Counts’ sessions as part of the Every Player Counts network which provides inclusive sessions for all. This session has a particular focus on support participants with autism.

His parents said, “Matthew has been attending football training sessions with Derby County Community Trust since he was around 11 years old and has enjoyed it so much is still going eight years later. He really looks forward to going and loves scoring goals and also the celebrations.

“He has always felt comfortable with the staff and loves telling them about his passion for Derby County and football in general. He has always been made to feel as though he belongs there and this has given him the confidence to talk in a group which hasn’t always been easy for him.

“He now seems to enjoy it as much for the social interaction as he does for the football. We feel he gets a lot from the sessions as he seems more animated and talkative afterwards.”

Matt added that he likes taking penalties and the warm up sessions. He remembers when two of the Derby County players came to one of the sessions and he got to play football with them.

Staff at Derby County Community Trust are really proud of Matthew’s development throughout the years he’s been involved.

Stuart Asquith, Inclusion Officer at the Trust, said, “So many of our sessions are about much more than football and the way Matt has grown in confidence since he first started has been amazing. He continues to be an important part of the group and supports us as coaches too and we hope to have the pleasure of his company for many years to come!”

To find out more about Ability Counts sessions, please email [email protected]

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