club of year.

Meet our Grassroots Heroes of 2023

Cumberland FA are delighted to confirm the local Grassroots Football Award Winners!

Each year, these Awards are our opportunity to celebrate the people who make grassroots football great for everyone across Cumberland – there are so many fantastic volunteers across the grassroots game and we would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate someone for one of the below Awards. 

Everyone nominated, and those Clubs and individuals shortlisted are people who make a positive difference and put their heart and soul into football across our county. 

Congratulations to our Cumberland FA Winners! We will be in touch in due course with each winner.

Coach Of The Year – Female Pathway - Katie Adams (Gillford Park)

Katie has made a huge impact supporting girls football in Carlisle for a number of years, leading the Weetabix Wildcats sessions which have seen more than 160 taking part since it began in 2020. Katie has also led a number of Gillford Park JFC teams and coaches at Cumbria Football Academy.

Katie is a dedicated coach and a fantastic role model to those around her. Her passion for getting girls into the game is second to none, and the success of the Weetabix Wildcats programme is testament to Katie’s commitment to the game.

“Katie is an amazing coach, she puts the girls first and for most in her sessions, she definitely wants the girls to achieve their potential and for girls football to improve and grow in Carlisle and the surrounding areas.”

Coach Of The Year – Male Pathway - Damon McRea (Aspatria JFC)

Damon has been a key driver of Aspatria Junior Football Club since it restarted following the pandemic. Prior to the restart, children in the town had to travel elsewhere to play football or simply miss out. As well as coaching a number of teams, Damon is the club secretary role amongst other roles.

His passion, his dedication and his desire to educate not only the children on the game of football and teamwork but also the parents and carers and coaches too. Damon makes it his mission to ensure the children have a safe space to learn, make mistakes and have fun with no pressure from the side lines.

“The whole town is thriving when there are matches on and they are so well attended. It’s more than football it’s a community. Damon made this happen.”

Coach Of The Year – Disability Pathway - Roman Todd (Windscale Pan Disability)

Roman has been running the Windscale disability team for a number of years and has been a fundamental reason for their continued growth, from sorting kits to organising training.

Roman is a fantastic role model, who’s hard work and commitment has had a positive impact on so many players in the grassroots game.

“I would love for him to get this Award to show that his hard work and commitment has not gone unnoticed and to show how much he is appreciated” 

Grounds Team Of The Year - Raymond Patterson (Cleator Moor Celtic)

Ray is a retired volunteer who cuts 3 pitches week in week out and keeps the Cleator Football pitches in top condition. Not only does he use his time to look after the pitches, he sorts the waste, toilets, organises the seeding, fertilising and basically has a hand in everything to provide children with the safe space to play football.

According to the nomination form, the surfaces have improved dramatically because of Ray and therefore the experience for the children has hugely improved.

“We cannot play and have the exceptional surface like we do without Raymond's outstanding dedication.”

Club Of The Year - Workington Diamonds FC

The growth of the Club has been plain to see. Starting with girl’s teams, in 7 years, Workington Diamonds FC have grown from having just 7 girls interested to providing 21 teams with regular playing opportunities with girl’s teams, boys (mixed) teams, disability teams as well as a women’s team linked to the Club. Around 400 players are now involved in the Club and it continues to grow.

The Club now have their own place to train and play football with home and away changing rooms along with toilet facilities and a cafe area.

Diamonds consider themselves as one big football family, making everyone feel welcome. 

Match Official Of The Year – Georgia Vyse

Georgia has been promoted twice during the 2022-23 season, going Level 7 to Level 6 on the Men's Referee Promotion Pathway and 4w to 3w on the Women’s Referee Promotion Pathway. Her determination has seen her develop considerably in the past 18 months, from starting her referee course to refereeing an England Women’s U15 game at St George’s Park in March.

Georgia is really keen to learn and is therefore benefiting from being in the County CORE and National CORE Groups as she is receiving and putting into practice the expert development training. She seeks out opportunities and has recently been signed up for the newly formed FA Women’s Referee Emerging Talent Programme. 

Georgia officiated the Cumberland FA Women's Cup Final this year.

New Volunteer Of The Year - Robyn Jewell (Clear your head kick about)

With initial support from Cumberland FA, Robyn set up a free football session on a Wednesday night at Cumberland Sports Stadium Astro turf. Robyn has continued the ‘Clear your Head Kickabouts’ giving up Wednesday evenings to enable opportunities for the turn up and play sessions.

Robyn ensures the sessions are welcoming for all and provides a safe environment for people to come along for a kickabout.

“It’s an environment where you aren’t judged and don’t feel pressured to talk about your feeling or problems. The sessions are something to look forward to during the week and is an escape from the stresses of work and home life. It also a good excuse to get out the house and exercise.”

Young Volunteer Of The Year – Ben Welsh (Langwathby FC)

Ben has been nominated for a number of years in the Ground Team category and was once again nominated this year. As a 21-year-old, Ben has volunteered tirelessly for a number of years with Langwathby FC gaining funding from the Football Foundation to support the upgrade of the pitches and continued maintenance. 

Ben maintains three pitches supporting both adult and junior teams. He also maintains stadium pitches at Penrith AFC and Carlisle United FC and we’re told he lives for pitch work!

The number of hours Ben puts in to maintain the pitches is commendable and is appreciated locally and across the county when opposition teams play on them. He is constantly looking to learn and improve.

“Our pitches have improved enormously since his input. We are always complimented on how good they play and well they look.”

The Lioness Award – Whitehaven AFC

Whitehaven AFC Lionesses have completed a 12-13 year project to have a full Girls & Ladies Football Pathway. Whitehaven AFC offer an inclusive opportunity to local girls to join the Club from U6s all the way to a Senior Ladies Team. Whitehaven now have 15 teams dedicated to girls both playing in the Girls League and in the Mixed Leagues.

The impact is huge for the local area with those at the club proud to be part of such an inclusive and fun environment with opportunities to progress further for players. However there are many other girls who love the game for the social and health reasons and it’s given them huge amounts of self-esteem, confidence and life skills.

It has been a huge team effort to get the Club to where they are now, from a handful of girls of mixed ages, to now having every year group covered, most with multiple teams. All coaches are qualified and it’s opened up so many doors to so many people as well as giving so many great memories!

The Club recently hosted The FA’s Stepping Over the Sidelines workshop bringing parents on board to build their confidence to support the girls teams in the future.

Positive Football Environment Award - Rob Fowler

Rob supported his team at St Bees from U7 to U13. During this time wins were in short supply, however they have managed to fulfil pretty much every fixture and have healthy numbers at training.  This is testament to Rob, his approach and his personality.  He is only ever positive with his instructions and behaviours and has created an excellent atmosphere and culture within the team.

Rob has never turned a player away and has ensured that all players who are available have the chance to play. Being part of a team has clearly positively impacted the players well being and friendships across different schools and social groups have been made that will last forever and this is all due to the fact that they feel comfortable and know that no matter what how they play or if they make a mistake they will not be shouted at or made to feel worse as this is just not Rob’s style. 

The team epitomize this. They never give up and if you asked any of the other teams who they play or referees who officiate them I am sure that they would all agree that they have had a positive experience, not just in terms of results, when playing St. Bees U13s

“There won’t be many people who deserve an award more than Rob. In fact the only person who would say they didn't deserve it would be Rob and that tells you everything you need to know about him.”

Each Award Winner will be invited to Cumberland FA’s Club Awards Night in September – details will be distributed and invitations issued in due course.

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:

Coach Of The Year – Female Pathway

Mark Ewing (Northbank JFC)
Dave Lace (Whitehaven AFC)
Patrick Malkinson (Bransty Rangers JFC)
Mark Nichols (Whitehaven AFC)
Jamie Reay (Allerdale Girls)
James Telford (Whitehaven AFC)

Coach Of The Year –Male Pathway

Mark Blaylock (Warwick Wanderers JFC)
Dan Percival (Warwick Wanderers JFC)
Steven Stoddart (Maryport Athletic JFC)
Lee Tedford (Northbank JFC)
Anne Taylor (Silloth JFC)
Shaun Todhunter (Carlisle Centurions JFC)

Coach Of The Year – Disability Pathway

Paul Allen (Carlisle Reivers)
Andy Rush (Workington Super Diamonds)

Club Of The Year 

Allerdale Girls
Silloth Juniors FC

Grounds Team Of The Year

Tom Banks (Kirkoswald FC)
Geoff Turrell (Windscale AFC)
Ben Welsh (Langwathby FC)

Match Official Of The Year

Andrew Carruthers
Joe Fell
Alex Kitchen
Seb O’Reilly
Jackson Slack
Lee Tedford

Young Volunteer Of The Year

Erin Duffy (Whitehaven AFC)
Jasmin Irwin (Silloth JFC)

New Volunteer Of The Year

Gay Frankland (Whitehaven AFC)
Scott Whittle (Silloth JFC)

The Lioness Award

Allerdale Wildcats
Gillford Park Wildcats

Positive Football Environment Award

Katie Adams (Gillford Park Wildcats)
Simon McCubbing (Creighton Rangers)
Dave Lace (Whitehaven AFC)
Peter Shepherd (Northbank FC)