Tooting's Hogan enjoying last laugh
Great Britain deaf footballer Daniel Hogan says he may not have been part of the banter as a kid, but it seems he is having the last laugh now.
The Tooting 27-year-old is in the 23-man GB squad for this summer’s European Deaf Football Championships in Denmark, where the team hope to go one better than the runners-up spot they claimed four years ago.
Hogan, a regular for Fulham Deaf FC since quitting Tooting & Mitcham reserves, has represented his country since making his debut as a 17-year-old in a 3-0 defeat to Ireland.
The Oak Lodge School teaching assistant left the Terrors frustrated at the lack of opportunities with the Imperial Fields second string.
But he says his move to the Motspur Park-based Cottagers has given him a new lease of life and is thankful for a second chance.
“I was with hearing teams at a young age and looking back, I could talk to team-mates, but I usually missed out on the banter because I could not understand or keep up with them,” he said.
“My disability didn’t stop me playing football, but I felt it stopped me getting more opportunities to maybe playing at a higher level.
“I think coaches didn’t want the burden of it all and that I would have maybe held the team back.
“I’m sure my teammates back then were frustrated with me, but now I’m playing for a deaf team, I don't miss out on anything.”
Hogan, who had a trial with Wimbledon as a 14-year-old, made his GB debut after being selected following a trial at Doncaster College for the Deaf.
And, while his first cap was memorable for the wrong reasons, he has not looked back since.
“With the deaf world being very small, word got around before my debut, that I was not a bad player and I got battered in the first five minutes,” he added.
“It means a lot playing for GB. Football is my life. I get to represent my country and get the opportunity to test myself against the best players in deaf football.”
The seventh European Deaf Football Championships kick-off in June and Hogan is out to avenge a 2-1 final defeat to champions France in 2007.
He said: “My goal is to try and win every tournament we are in and improve on the silver medal we got in the Europeans in Portugal.”
Daniel Hogan needs to raise £1,500 in sponsorship to take part in the European Deaf Championships and for more information contact GB Deaf Football project manager Mark Gill at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.justgiving.com/gbdenmark .