DREAM FINISH: Clinton departing pair - FC assistant coach Dan Horton (left) with head coach Derek Horton.
DREAM FINISH: Clinton departing pair - FC assistant coach Dan Horton (left) with head coach Derek Horton. Matt Harris

LISTEN: Now's the time to leave the coaching on a high

SOCCER: Father and son combination of Derek and Dan Horton leave their beloved Clinton Football Club with a lasting legacy that may perhaps never be rivalled.

After three Wesley Hall Cup victories which included a memorable 1-0 triumph against Cap Coast, the partnership between assistant coach and newly-crowned club life-member Dan and head coach Derek has ended.

Of 182 games coached, 133 were wins in an outstanding record across nine seasons.

"Really I think it's just at the right time and we've done the last nine years, but we had a bit of a break there in 2013 and 14," Dan said.

"I think it's a good time for the club and we've got lots of juniors coming through and I just think it's a good time for the club to have a bit of a change."

The father-son coaching tag-team were always going to call it quits regardless of the outcome in season 2018.

"We were pretty disappointed with last year and our plan for 2018 was just to have as much fun as we could with the boys and we certainly did that," Dan said.

"I think that's why we were so successful and we were a really tight-knit group, we fought for each other and got it done."

The journey included a near tragedy when teacher-aid Dan was involved in a motorbike accident in November of 2004 and suffered quadriplegia after he broke his neck.

Things of course were tough and the Hortons are certainly made of tough stuff.

"It is what it is and obviously things could be better, but they could always be worse as well so I like to just give everything a go and then that way you know if it doesn't work out, at least you know and otherwise you're left with too many 'what-ifs,'" Dan said.

Dan played soccer all his life and played Premier League in 2004 under his father before the accident.

"I was in hospital until July 2005 and then I went down to a soccer game...I think it was in 2006 to watch the boys play and I came home and said 'I can't go to soccer any more dad and if I can't play then I don't want to be involved'," he said.

Derek returned to coaching duties in 2008, but had said he won't coach unless Dan does.

The rest, they say, is history.

Derek said his son has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

"When you consider that he works three days a week, is on the soccer club committee, is the club's media person, registrar and equipment officer, coaches two nights a week and on weekends which involves travel every second weekend and all this while dealing with quadriplegia," Derek said.

He says for Dan to be confined to a wheelchair has not stopped doing what he loves. "Most quads don't work let alone volunteer in a variety of capacities," Derek said.

"Dan struggles at times and the physical demands of his condition get him down occasionally, but he has a fantastic outlook and once he has rested he is straight back into it again. You would only need to speak to anyone one involved in our club from the president down to the players to understand the respect Dan has from all involved."

Dan said he will still cheer on his team in 2019 while having 'a beer or two'.



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