In the month that women's football has dominated the headlines, Emily Rowles has now been announced as the Football Association's 'Nationwide Mutual Respect Award' winner for July 2022 for her commitment to women's football for three decades and her inclusion for players with disabilities.
The Nationwide Mutual Respect Award, as part of The England Football Respect Campaign, aims to help make grassroots football more respectful and positive.
The Nationwide monthly award - which was introduced just last year - recognises outstanding contributions, achievements and behaviour in grassroots football across the country by young players, coaches, teams, parents and referees.
Emily from Kiveton near Sheffield receives a trophy, the accolade of being the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner and also win tickets to a forthcoming England game.
The recommendation from Emily’s community for the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award said: “Emily has loved football since she could walk but for many years she was always the only girl in a boys world.
“She never let this bother her and has continued to play for the last 25 years. Her passion for growing the girls game is amazing. She currently plays, coaches a girls’ team and is the girls’ coach at her local club.
“She is always looking for ways to increase inclusivity in the club and ensure the game is accessible to all.
“Her most recent project has been to develop a neurodiversity awareness training for coaches, referees and parents. It has been so successful the local FA have asked for it to be delivered to a wider audience.
“It provides great knowledge that will ensure coaches can makes adjustments during training and games to make them more inclusive for players with learning disabilities and other challenges.”
Emily said: “I am overwhelmed to win the Nationwide Mutual Respect award for July.
“I am a coach at Kiveton Park FC and in addition to this I am the girls' secretary for the club and a player for our ladies' section.
"Football has always been a passion of mine and due to many hurdles that I had to overcome as a youngster, I am extremely passionate about progressing the game.
"I am also keen that they have positive role models across many areas of football that they can look up to.
"I take great pride in coaching girls on their grassroots journey. I work with girls across a variety of age groups to inspire them to dream about how far they can take their passion for football.
"I ensure all my sessions are inclusive and accessible for all. Recently, I identified that coaches within our club were struggling to make their sessions inclusive for all - specifically neurodiverse players.
"I used my experience to build an awareness session for coaches. This had a positive impact on our club - so much so our local FA have now asked that I deliver this session more broadly across our region.
"I love to ensure that all abilities can get involved in the beautiful game and have fun.
"Also during the Euros, I supported many of our young local players by coordinating them to carry flags and be player mascots at the Championships - providing them with role models and visions that they can aim for."
Do you know someone who's gone above and beyond to build mutual respect within grassroots football? Each month, Nationwide are giving your nominees the chance of winning the Mutual Respect trophy and two tickets to an upcoming England football team game. Nominate your grassroots hero by CLICKING HERE