Hampton – Evan Austin served as honorary captain last season for both the boys’ and girls’ soccer teams at Winnacunnet High School as he battled a rare brain cancer called metastatic glioma.
Super Evan passed away in June at the age of 8, and both teams will pay homage to him once again during Friday’s games against rival Exeter.
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“It’s a great way to honor Evan Austin’s life and to learn about the family and the unfortunate hardships they’ve been through,” said Nick O’Brien, girls’ soccer coach for Winaconite. “But also to raise awareness of childhood brain cancer, and kind of unite the two for a great cause.”
The girls’ game will start at 3:30 pm, followed by the boys’ game. Austin, the boy who touched the hearts of the entire Hampton community, will be honored in between games.
“We will try to remember him and support the family going forward,” said Nick Rowe, the boys soccer coach. “Supporting the community is part of the culture of our program. For these players, this is more than what they do as athletes, and there are bigger things in life than football.”
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In the games, there will be items available for purchase such as Super Evan’s T-shirts, stickers, and magnets. There will also be a 50/50 lottery where all proceeds will go to children’s cancer research.
“Even though Evan is dead, she (Winaconite) still wants to honor him and make it a good night,” said Jess Austin, Evan’s mother. “September is Children’s Cancer Awareness Month, so we’re really trying to take this opportunity to spread awareness in the community, and do some fundraising, while also honoring Evan at the same time.”
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Coaches from both teams will wear custom-made jerseys in honor of Evan, and attendees are encouraged to do the same, or wear anything gold in his memory.
“The (Exeter) coaching staff on both boys and girls were 100% in,” Rowe said. “So, I think it’s definitely something we want to try to continue as we move forward in the future.”
The Winnacunnet football teams hosted Super Evan’s Night last night. He served as honorary captain for the girls’ match against Kane, and for the boys when they played Londonderry.
It was really fun, had a really nice night,” said Jess Austin. “He went out on the field, kicking the first goal and being with the guys. It was a good night. The community really came out for it. Everyone was wearing their ‘Super Evan’ jerseys, and we raised thousands of dollars for The Cure Starts Now, so it was a good night.” Really. I think this year would be a good way for the larger community to remember him and do things in his honor, while also raising awareness of all kinds of childhood cancer.”
O’Brien mentioned how lucky the team was to be able to meet Evan last season.
“To get him to do a celebratory goal and everything else was great,” O’Brien said. “(It was good) seeing him enjoy being a kid. We are so sad that (Evan) is gone, but we really want to keep his memory alive, and raise awareness of childhood cancer, so in the end a cure is found and the Austin family is supported in any way we can.”