North Riding FA’s 2019 Grassroots Football Award winners were presented with their accolades at Riverside Stadium on Friday 13 September
Heroes of the grassroots game across North Yorkshire and Teesside were handed special recognition on Friday 13 September, as North Riding FA hosted its 2019 FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards ceremony at Riverside Stadium, the home of Middlesbrough FC.
The prestigious event enabled North Riding FA to celebrate the inspirational and passionate people who work tirelessly all year round to make grassroots football in North Riding the best it can possibly be.
After a record number of nominations were submitted by clubs, leagues, schools and other local organisations, a judging panel assessed the entries alongside The FA’s PRIDE values of Progression, Respect, Inclusion, Determination and Excellence.
After careful consideration, the following award winners were announced.
We Only Do Positive: Respect – Graham Ireton; Wigginton Grasshoppers 82 Juniors FC
The We Only Do Positive Award aims to celebrate the individuals who inspire positive change and help to bring the very best out of people. Graham was named winner of this award due to the way he demonstrates and promotes Respect, whilst encouraging those around him to do the same.
Grassroots Project of the Year – Sam Bell; South Park Rangers FC
For the second year running, Sam Bell picked up the Grassroots Project of the Year award in recognition for developing an Autism Centre at South Park Rangers FC. Aimed at providing football activities for children with autism, the project started out with four players and now has 20 participants attending, with two players graduating into mainstream football. The project teaches players about Respect and offers one-to-one sessions, as well as integrated group activities.
Grassroots Match Official of the Year – Tom Shepherdson
Whilst playing grassroots football for a local team, Tom was diagnosed with a brain condition and in November 2017, the decision was made for him to stop playing. Despite that, Tom bounced back by enrolling on the FA Referee Course and obtaining his qualification, and he has worked incredibly hard ever since to develop, improve and keep the positive matchday environment alive. Tom is a truly inspirational figure and a deserving winner of this award.
Rising Star of the Year – Danny Todd; Redcar Town FC
This award was introduced to recognise someone under the age of 25 who has made a significant contribution to football in the community. An excellent young coach at Redcar Town FC, Danny works with multiple teams, takes the lead on the SSE Wildcats programme and works hard to develop as a coach. Danny is also a qualified referee and a club committee member, playing an active role in decisions and helping to drive the club forward.
Grounds Team of the Year – Keith Sykes; Marton Juniors
Having been involved in grassroots football for over 60 years, Keith Sykes’ hard work and dedication has enabled thousands of children to play football on quality grass pitches. Over the summer, Keith works every day to keep the pitches perfect, and it’s very rare for any of Marton FC’s 28 teams to have a game called off. Keith goes above and beyond to keep grassroots football running for leagues, clubs and players.
Grassroots Supporter of the Year – Laura Dyson; Strensall Tigers
Laura Dyson from Strensall Tigers ensures that all players are included and feel valued. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she regularly organises social events to keep the team bond going away from the pitch. In addition, Laura recently helped to raise over £2,000 for the club and organised for 17 families to spend the weekend in Skegness at a football tournament.
Volunteer of the Year – Joe McKechnie; Copmanthorpe
Joe has spent the last eight years promoting, fundraising and helping to provide opportunities for players with cerebral palsy. His determination to develop a strong cerebral palsy team for players from the North East and Yorkshire is unwavering, and he has achieved this through finding funding, purchasing equipment, promoting the team via media outlets and continually looking for players.
Grassroots Coach of the Year – Kris Jackson; Richmond Town JFC
Thanks to Kris Jackson’s determination and excellent attitude, there are now three girls’ teams running at Richmond Town FC. Alongside his full-time role as a firefighter, Kris also runs a boys team and takes on the role of club chairman. He truly believes in developing players of all abilities and helps to ensure that everyone feels part of something special.
Grassroots Club of the Year – Scarborough Ladies
Scarborough Ladies encompass The FA’s ethos of development through positive encouragement, fun and enjoyment. The coaches are all committed to constant development and the sharing of best practice between themselves and others; all whilst creating an environment for footballers to develop as both players and people.
Steven Wade, North Riding FA Chief Executive Officer, said: “Our awards evening at Riverside Stadium provided a fantastic opportunity to recognise and celebrate the huge contribution that volunteers in our county make to the grassroots game.
“It was a pleasure to have our partners First Mortgage North East with us on the night and also local charity Daisy Chain, who I’m pleased to confirm will be the Official Charity Partner of North Riding FA for the 2019/20 season. Congratulations once again to all of our Grassroots Football Award winners – and also to those who received nominations but just missed out on the final award. My thanks also go to Middlesbrough FC for providing such fantastic facilities and service on the night.”
Andy Clay, North Riding FA Football Development Manager, added: “It was a pleasure to be surrounded by some truly inspirational people at our Grassroots Football Awards ceremony – all of whom make an incredible difference to the game we all love.
“From supporters to referees, coaches and volunteers, our 2019 winners all make The FA’s values part of the game for their respective clubs, leagues and communities. It was fantastic to hear the amazing stories of greatness and celebrate so many positives aspects of grassroots football.”