David, who lost his son Christopher in 2019, has set up Sands United FC Lurgan to bring together fathers, brothers, uncles and friends who have also lost a baby.
“It’s not about counselling or attending a group. It is just a team of men, who have been through something similar, enjoying a game of football,” said David.
Recently superstar footballer Cristiano Ronaldo and his partner, Georgina Rodriguez, described the death of their baby boy as the ‘greatest pain any parents can feel’.
David said: “The football team is set up for another outlet for men to be able to play in memory of their angels.
“This football team isn’t about counselling. It is about being together as a team and, if anyone wants to talk about it, fine but there is no pressure. It’s just about having that camaraderie and friendship.”
David and his partner Jennifer’s son Christopher died 11 days after he was born suffering from a heart defect.
“It was devastating and a very emotional time. Talking about it with other people can bring it all back. I know a lot of men aren’t comfortable with talking about it and that is why we wanted to set up the football team,” said David who has two sons Carter (2) and Caleb aged just one year old.
David has set up a regular training session at Centrepoint in Lurgan meeting every Wednesday from 7-8pm.
“We hope to field a 11-side team and play against other Sands United teams across NI,” says David who is organising charity status for the club.
“There is no requirement to be fit or a football master. This is about having a game of football, having a laugh.
“There is no expectancy to open up, nor is there an expectancy for you to be the best footballer in the world. Just standing alongside someone knowing that they know and they understand how you may be feeling is enough.
“A good tackle, scoring a goal or even just stepping on the pitch wearing your Angel’s name has proven to help with the grieving process.
“We are made up of so many men who have been through so many different circumstances. Men of all different fitness levels and footballing background. We do not discriminate, we are here to break the silence around baby loss!”
If you would like to get involved contact www.facebook.com/sandsunitedfclurgan