The FA And McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards Winners Announced
THE FA AND MCDONALD’S GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL AWARD WINNERS ANNOUNCED
In a season which was unfortunately cut short as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards celebrate and recognise the inspiring work that has taken place throughout the 2019/20 season. This is our opportunity to celebrate the West Riding's grassroots football heroes.
The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards are for people who make a positive difference. It’s our way to celebrate the fantastic individuals who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across West Riding and say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers who inspire us all.
Below are the 2020 West Riding Grassroots Football Award Winners:
Grassroots Coach of the Year (Adult)
Winner: Anthony Hall (Danby Rovers)
Anthony is a coach at Danby Rovers Football Club but to the players he’s much more than just a coach. Anthony is totally committed to the club. He works full-time and then gives up hours of his free time to train and manage the club. Because the club don’t have transport, he helps with lifts and when the matches are finished, he does all the washing of the kits for the players. He plans and organises everything single-handedly. He even finds time to do sponsored events with the team to raise funds. Anthony also organises social events for the players and sometimes pays for them out of his own money too.
He has helped so many young adults at the club, male and female. Each player’s game has improved immensely. He has inspired them, given them confidence and given them opportunities they never would have had. He has helped players get on the Mencap England team and he knows all his players abilities and what they are capable of, always striving for them to be the best they can be. Danby Rovers are like a family and that is down to Anthony Hall.
Grassroots Coach of the Year (Youth)
Winner: Jon Cockcroft (Rothwell Juniors Whites U11)
Jon is an incredible coach in so many ways. From the very start he took the players under his wing to create a football family. His passion seeps through all he puts into the sessions and has a genuine bond with all the players. Even during the current pandemic, he was holding regular training sessions via social media and checking in with all the players. He ensures every player gets a voice and accommodates to them.
Not only is Jon a football coach but he’s also a life coach for the players. He ensures every player has a voice and most of all embeds true sportsmanship. The lessons he's taught the players have impacted each player in every step of their life. He has a motto that is embraced by both players and parents - #TEAM - Together everyone achieves more.
Grounds Team of the Year
Winner: Andrew Gill (Barnoldswick Town Juniors FC)
Andrew has been part of Barnoldswick for over 10 years. When his U18 team merged into adult football and Andrew's son left for university he took it upon himself to become head groundsman. He not only supervises all the work and delegates where possible, but the bulk of the work is done by Andrew himself.
The work Andrew has achieved has made it possible for our ground to host football matches and training for 23 teams this season.
Andrew has been a coach, manager, vice chairman and chairman when his son was playing. When his son left for university Andrew resigned as chairman but wanted to keep involved and volunteer. The work he has put in to get the ground playable has been fantastic.
Grassroots Club of the Year
Winner: Headingley AFC
In 2013, a player called Lewis Keogh of Headingley AFC sadly took his own life after racking up £55,000 of debts through a gambling addiction. He was a close friend to many and at the time the club’s Reserve Manager and Committee Member. He suffered in silence & it was a moment that no young group of men should ever go through. Each year HAFC hold a sporting event, titled LK day, where players past and present come together and play a tournament to raise the awareness of gambling and raise money for charity. The event is attended by players, families, friends and is getting bigger every year.
HAFC have formed a close relationship with GablingWithLives, a new charity which Lewis’s parents are a big part of, and this is where the money is distributed to. Since Lewis’ passing, the club have raised thousands for charity and are extremely active in spreading the message. HAFC have featured numerous times on BBC News and ITV News, French TV & most recently were part of a feature on Football Focus which has been viewed over 450k times on Facebook alone. Since the feature, the club have been inundated with messages, saying that after watching the video, people have seeked help.
HAFC were recognised as the first amateur club to have a gambling charity as their main sponsor. The club took a hit on sponsorship money to do this and every time they wear the shirt with the GamblingWithLives logo, it helps to spread the message and remember Lewis’s life.
The whole of the club have fully got behind working with GamblingWithLives and mental health initiatives. Particularly the first team managers Tom Monkhouse & Matthew Fryer. Once a month, management will email the squad, reminding players that it is ‘ok to talk’ & that their door is always open. Players have embraced this and have opened up and the management team have been there to support them through difficult times. What happened to Lewis had a real impact on everybody at the club makes it quite clear that if anyone is struggling, they will not go through it alone.
Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Matthew Groves Hemingway (Bradford City Disability FC)
Matthew has learning difficulties and is non-verbal, he was the first community volunteer at Bradford City and he plays football for Bradford City Disability FC. His dedication and tenacity has been a big part of driving forward the club’s programmes. Over four years he has done his FA Level 1 in Coaching Football Course, he helps out in schools coaching, when he is not playing football he is volunteering at every fundraiser, event and games for other teams. He enjoys social media and runs the Bradford City Disability FC Twitter and Facebook pages making sure everyone knows about the good work the club are doing. He used this platform to contact McDonald’s Thornbury and with some help this developed into a fantastic partnership for the club for which McDonald’s were awarded The FA Grassroots Community Award for Restaurant of the Year 2019.
Seeing him every day has changed the perception of many people about people with disabilities and the value that they can bring to sport.
Rising Star of the Year
Winner: Charlie Emery (Horsforth St Margarets)
Charlie is only fourteen years old and as well as playing in goal and captaining two teams, he has also completed his referees course and willingly volunteers to officiate matches around his own games. He also helps coach the younger goalkeepers and he referees galas in his free time. He helps the coach at one of the U9’s team with his dad and is a fantastic role model.
Charlie has given confidence to not only his peers but to the younger players who look up to him. Parents of his peers and younger players are always praising him and commenting on his positive attitude, maturity and selfless manner. His coaches sing his praises as he’s always first on the pitch and last off helping set up, taking warm ups, carrying balls and equipment and making sure his teammates are ok.
His attitude and positivity shines through. He loves coaching the younger goalkeepers and his passion really shows in everything he does. He always has time for the younger players whether it’s putting an arm around them if they are upset or encouraging them and teaching them new skills. His patience is amazing, and he can adapt his coaching to the age group. During lockdown he has done some video blogs to challenge the young goalkeepers and help them during this period. He is a true leader and his teammates love his continued positivity, confidence and leadership.
Grassroots Project of the Year
Winner: Bradford City Disability FC (Women & Girls)
Bradford City Disability FC have led the way in delivering female disability football provision both in Bradford and in West Riding. The women's team started in January 2018 with a turn up and play session, their first year in competitive football they were runners up in the FA Peoples Cup, a national competition and found themselves included in the National Football Museum and racking up over 100k views on Twitter. 12 months on they did it again as runners up in 2019, narrowly missing out.
They are striving to improve opportunities for all women and girls with disabilities to play football. They started the first girls wildcats disability sessions in the county this year which has resulted in a new team of under 12 girls.
They are providing a safe inclusive environment with female coaches, female disability role models and are not only encouraging but shaping the future generations of female footballers. They are creating a real buzz around female disability football. Two of the players have also been selected for the 2021 Special Olympics and will be the first female players to participate from Yorkshire & Humberside.
Grassroots Match Official of the Year
Winner: Ian Johnston
Ian has regularly helped other match officials and has been refereeing for many years and his dedication is second to none. He has been involved in the County School of Excellence to help younger officials progress through the ranks.
He has worked extremely hard not only in his own career in football but with others who he has formed strong relationships with and is a fantastic role and model and mentor. Ian truly is a grassroots hero and is well respected by other match officials in West Riding.
Grassroots League of the Year
Winner: Garforth Junior Football League
The GJFL have worked tirelessly to bring grassroots football to the local community. They have donated to St James Hospital Leeds in the recent pandemic, been at the forefront of local charity Sarah's Goal, arranged a Christmas giveaway competition for clubs as well as supporting local initiatives.
Being so involved in the local community GJFL help so many young people find their love of football. No matter what their skill level is, there's a place for any team in GJFL. The league have seen an increase of clubs joining which is the result of the hard work everyone from the league has put in.
GJFL are always on hand to assist whether it's a league matter or whether you're looking for advice, there is always someone you can turn to.
The league has really progressed in the community over the last 9 months, their social media presence has expanded and the number of clubs joining is evidence of the great work the league is doing.