West Riding FA 2022 Grassroots Football Awards Winners Announced
2022 Grassroots Football Awards Winners Announced
We are delighted to announce the local winners of The England Football and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards 2022.
The awards recognise and celebrate the people who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across England.
They also give us a great opportunity to say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers who inspire us all.
The following individuals were selected as local winners for the West Riding FA and have been submitted to the National England Football judging panel for consideration for a National England Football & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Award.
Grassroots Match Official of the Year
Name: Rebecca Blake
Rebecca passed her referee exams when she was 14 and this is her first full season due to the pandemic.
She is more than a referee; she will also help the children she is officiating any time she can including on one occasion giving a child her own goalkeeping gloves for the game as she did not have any herself.
An excellent communicator, Rebecca receives the respect from those she is officiating by her firm but fair decision making.
Refereeing has really boosted Rebecca’s confidence and it has made her a stronger person which has helped her in non-football situations on a daily basis.
Grassroots Club of the Year
Club: Holbeck Moor FC
Holbeck Moor FC is a subs-free adult football club formed in June 2021.
Holbeck Moor is the large green space in the inner South Leeds ward of Holbeck, an area with high levels of social disadvantage and unemployment.
Fewer than one in ten Holbeck residents access the local leisure services and the mortality rate, linked to coronary heart disease, diabetes, obesity and COPD, is higher in this area than the Leeds average.
The club founders had a vision to have an accessible, open-access football team in the area to improve mental health and fitness of residents in the local area.
Whatever the impediment that stops people participating, it is covered by funding at Holbeck Moor.
Equipment, boots, sports bras, childcare, transport, even food, whatever it is, all obstacles are removed so individuals can participate.
In the past 12 months Holbeck Moor has successfully affiliated with The FA and joined two grassroots leagues, attracting over 150 residents to participate in football.
The club recently won Leeds Compassionate City Award for Sports Project of the Year.
Holbeck Moor is open to absolutely anyone, no matter of footballing level or background, with an emphasis on inclusivity.
Grassroots Coach of the Year (Adults)
Name: Sokii Abbas
Club: Route One Rovers FC
Sokii is one of the first coaches who is in a wheelchair and is coaching open-age adult football.
His achievements since coming to Route One Rovers 12 months ago have been fantastic, getting to two cup finals and winning the Bradford District Cup, making Route One the first team in the history of the Yorkshire Amateur League to win the cup.
Sokii has also given opportunities to other coaches with disabilities to be part of his team as well as giving young players from deprived backgrounds a chance in the team.
He is a young BAME coach with a disability who is succeeding in Step 7 football, Sokii is a true inspiration.
Volunteer of the Year
Name: Mark Bramfitt
Club: North East Leeds FC
Mark has been with the club since 2007 and runs various teams. However, this year he has single handedly set up their mini’s section and worked tirelessly to provide football opportunities for 4-6 year olds in the area.
Within a year the club have over 120 children playing in this age range and this number continues to grow.
He has recruited countless volunteers to support him and has essentially created a club within the club.
Mark regularly runs events to raise money for charity and is instilling the NEL values into the youngest players at the club starting their journey.
He spends his weekends volunteering and dedicating his time to these children with five back-to-back sessions on a Saturday and then provides opportunities for players to play fixtures on a Sunday in tournaments.
The mini’s have raised money for various local charities and the sessions themselves are affordable and accessible for all children in the community, which encompasses areas amongst the 5% most deprived areas in the country.
Above and beyond is quite simply an understatement for the work Mark has done at North East Leeds.
Grounds Team of the Year
Name: Matt Wood & Dave Cowie
Club: Knaresborough Celtic
Matt Wood alongside Dave Cowie have single handedly looked after the 6 pitches at the club for over 5 years.
They are there rain or shine, fertilising, cutting, line marking, shock waving, repairing fences as well as much more at their facility Thistle Hill.
This season has seen age groups from U7's through to open-age football, including girls’ teams and a Vets team use the facilities that Matt and Dave have kept in fantastic condition.
Games have been able to be played at the facility when many others have been cancelled and the club get fantastic feedback from away teams that play at the facility.
Grassroots Coach of the Year (Youth)
Name: Jamie Holland
Club: Eldwick Juniors
Jamie does not just coach, he makes the children feel cared for and important. The sessions he runs are fun and engaging; he uses positive language only and allows the children to have input in all the sessions he runs.
Even though the overall focus is on the game, the priority is always the wellbeing of the children, ensuring that they are enjoying the sessions and matches and not putting pressure on them.
The children he has coached have grown in confidence due to his coaching.
The girls really enjoy being coached by him as he is always able to make them laugh and teaches them new techniques and skills that make the sessions fun.
Through building relationships with businesses, he has also managed to secure several sponsorship deals This has not only kept the cost of kits low for families, but it has also raised the profile of the club.
Alongside other coaches he has grown the number of players at the club from just 22 girls to now over 100 girls.
The impact he has made on girls’ football is clear in the numbers and how the teams have grown in such a short space of time.
Grassroots League of the Year
Name: West Riding Women’s Beginner League
The Women’s Beginner League launched for the 2021/22 season with 9 teams.
The league was created off the back of a successful ‘Mum’s Can Play Football’ project delivered pre Covid.
The teams are predominantly made up of players brand new to football with over 200 players currently registered to the league, more than half of those over the age of 35.
The objective of the league is very much about providing playing opportunities for new players to get involved in an environment suited to them alongside like-minded individuals.
The league has also provided the perfect opportunity to encourage players to consider getting involved in a coaching role by offering incentives such as kit and equipment vouchers to those teams who manage to get the most players through the BT Playmaker course - 66 players completed this course during the 21/22 season.
The Women’s Beginner League has grown massively this season with increased numbers and plans in place for a new division next season.
Rising Star of the Year
Name: Jack Reid
Club: Leeds Hyde Park
Jack’s commitment to the club and the players in unwavering and his dedication is flawless.
Jack no longer lives in Leeds but commutes an hour on public transport every Saturday to Leeds, waking up at 6am to be able to set up for the training sessions.
He is the sole coach of the U16’s team, often having to set up on match days by himself and he ensures that players can get to games no matter the distance.
Alongside coaching the U16’s, he has helped coach all age groups from 3-year-olds upwards, coaching for 4 hours at a time.
He also helps with the Women's team once a week and on Sundays, often traveling across West Yorkshire on public transport to attend two games a day, alongside coaching Leeds University's Women's 3rd team.
His unwavering commitment to all his teams and players, coaching 6 days a week, travelling hours every day to ensure high quality coaching to as many teams as possible is an inspiration.
He has pushed himself, he has pushed other coaches, he has pushed his players, and he has pushed this club to a place many did not think was possible.
Jack has an incredibly bright future in grassroots football, and at only 22 years old, he has a huge impact on the game.
The Spirit of Grassroots Football Award
Name: Mohammed Waheed
Club: Alpha United Juniors
Mohammed set up this club in a heavily deprived area with no football club present from which he has grown the club from strength to strength with numbers still growing.
He has run the club for a decade now and gets involved with everything including doing all registrations for the club, coaching various age groups, creating and leading a young leaders programme, leading on welfare, arranging coaches’ qualifications, arranging workshops, collecting subs, attracting new sponsors as well as much more
Outside of this he has gone above and beyond by ensuring kids at the club and their families do not go hungry, assisted and led on mental health issues during the pandemic and also worked tirelessly to bring an anti-racism project to life.
Mohammed is always pushing the boundaries and doing everything he can to make a difference to other people’s lives.
On behalf of everyone at West Riding FA, we would like to say a huge congratulations to all of this year’s winners – and a big thank you for all you do for grassroots football in our region.
Previous award ceremonies have been cancelled due to COVID-19, but we plan to return to a physical award ceremony for this year.
Details of this will be announced in due course.
If you have any enquiries relating to the awards, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org