The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards 2019 brought a fantastic response from the grassroots football community with a large number of nominations from across Cumberland. The awards are an opportunity to thank the grassroots community for the tireless amount of work that takes place throughout the season.
The FA’s Progressive, Respectful, Inclusive, Determined, and Excellent, values and behaviours are the backbone of The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards; with the nominees shortlisted last week and the winners decided by the Cumberland FA Awards Panel. We would like to thank everyone that took the time to place a nomination this season. Every category was extremely strong which made it extra difficult for the judging panel to select the winner of each category.
The Cumberland FA County Award Winners are as follows:
• Grassroots Club of the Year – Unisun Athletic JFC
Set up 8 years ago and based in Carlisle, the inclusive Club now has 11 youth teams offering boys and girls playing opportunities from across the City.
Unisun Athletic JFC offers a fantastic introduction and progression through grassroots football with players from the older age groups encouraged to get involved with coaching the younger teams alongside qualified coaches.
The club also have an adult team which plays within from the club providing a pathway from youth to adult football.
• Grassroots Coach of the Year – Martin Taylor (Pirelli FC)
Martin is a calm, confident and encouraging coach, sharing his passion for the game in a positive and safe manner to his girls’ team.
A positive role model who makes the game fun for his players, Martin is a determined coach, always striving to ensure that all the girls understand and develop during each training session.
Martin is an asset to his team, his club and the grassroots game in Cumberland!
• Grassroots Project of the Year – Penrith Walking Football Centre
The Penrith Walking Football session was one of the first of its kind in Cumberland and was formed from a group of former players from a 1960's football team from Shap. The session has grown since its formation and now sees over 30 players regularly attending the Friday morning session at Penrith Leisure Centre.
They are a really close group of players who like to keep fit and enjoy a kick around. The social side of the group is just as important as the playing side with players staying on after the session to share juice, brews, cake and stories.
Penrith Walking Football club has recently joined the new Cumberland FA Walking Football League and were an integral part in its development. The Centre has a 50+ team and a 65+ team competing in the league and is open to new members!
This club epitomises what Walking Football is all about and has helped to start a trend in Cumbria that will undoubtedly continue to grow in popularity.
• Grounds Team of the Year – David Graham (Cleator Moor Celtic FC)
Over the last 5 seasons, David has gone the extra mile improving the playing surface at Cleator Moor Celtic FC beyond recognition. The pitch was often unplayable for 4-5 months of the season, and with his hard work, determination and an unrelenting passion for the local game, David has helped make the pitch better each year.
A valued member of the club, David has secured significant grant funding from local and national funding bodies to improve ongoing maintenance as well as adding to the clubs machinery stock while influencing other club members to invest club funds into the site.
With huge determination David tries to ensure the playing surface is something to be proud of, but most of all his passion is to provide a surface that allows the players to enjoy their football experience.
• Grassroots Match Official of the Year – Lewis McNamee
Lewis is a talented young match official who has excelled in his refereeing this season and was recently rewarded with two County Cup Final appointments. Lewis is keen to improve and often observes more experienced referees, picking up hints and tips along the way.
A polite young man with a fantastic attitude who has a very bright future!
• Rising Star of the Year – Joshua Allen
Josh is a member of The Cumberland FA Young Leaders Academy and as well as playing for Carlisle Reivers Under 16s helps to coach the Under 12 team and supports the adult disability teams too. Josh also referees and promotes respect while encouraging those around him.
With his cerebral palsy, Josh has undergone major surgery and through determination he continues to play, from only being able to play on his knees Josh can now take different positions and rolls on the pitch.
Josh is an inspirational young man who is well deserving of the Rising Star Award!
• Supporter of the Year – Philip Pattinson
Philip has been supporting grassroots football across the county for a large number of years. He is often seen every weekend scouring the county for games to watch. An avid fan of football in general, Philip will be seen throughout the season supporting the game in general.
An individual that is quiet an unassuming, his pleasure is taken largely from observing the game. Philip uses a walking aid to support himself however this doesn’t stop Phil from getting to support grassroots football. Phil doesn’t have a specific team in which he follows; he will often be seen at any grassroots game.
• Volunteer of the Year – Gareth Messenger (FC Cosmos)
Gareth is the heart and soul of FC Cosmos and runs and coaches the team in the Egremont and District Sunday Football League, with his main focus for the players to enjoy their football while showing respect to match officials.
Gareth is a genuine nice man devoting his life to grassroots football alongside his wife and children. When nominated it was clear that without Gareth, there would be no FC Cosmos! Always well prepared for training and often the last to leave, Gareth marks the pitch and sorts the nets amongst his other roles. Gareth epitomises the quality of volunteers across Cumberland who allow so many players to play the game week in week out!
The winners will be invited to the Cumberland FA Awards Dinner to receive their prizes and their nominations will go forward for judging in the national awards next month.
Ben Snowdon, Cumberland FA CEO commented “Grassroots football could not take place without the amazing work of our grassroots football volunteers do across the county to provide positive, safe and inclusive environments for everyone involved in the game and we are pleased The FA Grassroots Football Awards can recognise some of the great work taking place in grassroots football across Cumberland.”
“Well done to everyone who was nominated for the awards!”
The quality of the nominations was so great, that there were a number of nominees shortlisted who we feel deserve recognition for their work and dedication in the grassroots game and have been given a Highly Commended Award.
Congratulations and thank you to the nominees who were given the Highly Commended Award:
• Grassroots Club of the Year – Carlisle Reivers FC
• Grassroots Coach of the Year – Natalie Broad (Castletown JFC), Steve Davidson (Warwick Wanderers JFC), Sean Cooney (Carlisle City JFC), Sonya Howe (Carlisle Centurions JFC), David Hodgson (Whitehaven AFC), Malcolm Allison (Workington Reds Juniors)
• Grassroots Project of the Year – Whitehaven AFC Disability Project
• Grounds Team of the Year – Tom Banks (Kirkoswald FC) and Brian Fidler (Calthwaite JFC)
• Match Official of the Year – Tony Whitfield, Andrew Carruthers and Tommy Linford
• Rising Star of the Year – Matthew Rogerson
• Supporter of the Year – Elwyn Evans
• Volunteer of the Year – Steven Allison (Stanwix JFC)
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