Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Grassroots heroes recognised at awards ceremony

On Thursday 27th October, grassroots football’s finest were recognised at a prestigious awards ceremony at Rotherham United’s New York Stadium.

The awards, which recognise the people who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across the Sheffield & Hallamshire region, were presented by BBC Radio Sheffield’s Andy Giddings and welcomed people from our football community to celebrate the incredible achievements of local volunteers.

The winners were nominated by their peers, with over 160 nominations received across 10 categories in response to Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA’s call out to nominate their grassroots heroes earlier in the year.

With so many nominations, it was extremely tough to judge, but 11 winners were chosen and named as local winners of the England Football & McDonalds Grassroots Football Awards 2022.

The ceremony was an opportunity to present the winners with their certificates and awards, which were handed out by Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA Intern Chair Brian Coddington.

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Speaking at the awards, Brian said: “Congratulations to all our brilliant winners and to everyone who received a nomination this year.

“As a County FA, this is our chance to recognise and say thank you to a small selection of incredible grassroots volunteers in our region who are changing lives through football, but I also want to take this opportunity to say thank you to the thousands of volunteers who commit countless hours to making grassroots football happen.”

Football Development Manager at the Sheffield & Hallamshire County FA, Sarah Wood also delivered a speech on behalf of the County FA staff team, thanking volunteers for their hard work, dedication and commitment.

Sarah also highlighted the significant part volunteers have played in growing the grassroots game in our region, particularly women’s and girls’ football after an amazing summer which saw the Lionesses crowned UEFA Women’s Euro 2022 champions.

Hosting our first in-person awards in three-years, we were incredibly honoured and humbled to be joined by the heroes of Sheffield & Hallamshire grassroots football. Congratulations to all our winners and thank you to all the individuals that took the time to nominate.

The Spirit of Grassroots Football Award

 Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Winner: Dave Hampshire

Club: Penistone Church FC

“Dave has been the secretary at Penistone Church FC for over thirty years. Under his stewardship, he has seen the club grow to thirty teams across various age groups. The hours that he devotes to the club are incredible. He is a true volunteer who always has a smile on his face. It’s people like Dave that should be recognised for contributing so much to our game”

Grassroots Volunteer of The Year

Winner: Adel Yarnell

Club: Optima FC

 “Adel organised a tournament which raised £3,650 for a young girl with a debilitating disease. She welcomes everyone and ensures that every child has an opportunity to enjoy the game they love, and a smile is all she is looking for in return. To put it simply, there is no Optima FC without Adel”

Grassroots Match Official of The Year

Match Official of the Year

Winner: Christopher Ward

League: Worksop Sunday League

Both young and experienced local referees look to Chris for guidance. He is so approachable and is always available if someone needs support or a chat. When he was appointed to officiate in the EFL, Chris could have walked away from local grassroots football, but he is just as involved now as he was on day one.”

Grassroots Coach of The Year for Youth

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Winner: Gordon Johnson

Club: Kiveton Park FC

“Our son has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Gordon has been fantastic in helping to inspire him. He completed training to help understand our son’s needs and to do everything he can to help; recognising when he needs extra support, visual support or individual activity. I cannot rate Gordon highly enough for the work that he does – especially as a volunteer. Our son feels part of the team and loves coming to training and matches. This is down to the work of Gordon and the club.”

Grassroots Grounds Team of The Year

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Winner: Paul Todd

Club: Handsworth JSC

“Paul has been the groundsman at Handsworth for 25 years.  His sheer passion to pass on his knowledge to the younger generation and create the best pitches and surroundings, which are way beyond our level, is simply amazing. Over the last 12 months, he’s provided work experience to eight trainees as part of a government trainee scheme, making a real difference to their lives. He’s quite simply the cog that makes our club tick without ever kicking a ball.”

Grassroots Project of The Year

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Winner: John Drury

Club: Sands Utd Doncaster

John is the founder of Sands Utd Doncaster, a support group for men that have suffered baby loss. Over 50 men have played for the club, and over the last three years the club has raised over £20,000 for Sands and the local hospital. Even though John has had to deal with the loss of his own son, he has still given up countless hours of his own time to support other players. The club now has a committee to assist John, but he still gives up so much of his time to ensure we have games, a kit, a pitch to play on, and opportunities to network with other charity teams. The club that John set up has allowed men to fall in love with the beautiful game while providing them the tools and support to heal.”

Grassroots Club of The Year

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Winner: Hallam Rangers JFC

“This club is putting in a huge effort into growing the women and girls’ game, with a specific focus on being female friendly, listening to the voices of their players and growing the number of female role models. For example, over 50 percent of their female teams have a female coach. They always consult their members, players, parents, etc., to ensure that the club is giving the players the experience that they want.”

Grassroots Coach of The Year for Adults

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Winner: Paul Roidl

Club: Yorkshire Main FC

“Paul took over a club that has a hell of a lot of history and saved it from just disappearing. He has put blood, sweat and tears into setting up a good structure and keeping the club alive. He will do anything for anybody and has created an amazing environment for the local area, bringing all walks of life together by using the ground as the heart of the community. I have never known anyone put so much effort into something that has no benefit to him; it is all for the team and the local community.”

Rising Star of The Year

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Joint Winners: Connor Wright and Danny Wainwright (co-coaches)

Club: Sheffield Steelers JFC U7s

Connor and Danny volunteered to take on the role of co-managers, despite their own academic, personal and social demands. They are not invested at this club because they have a child who plays for the team - the time they give up is purely their own. They have instilled an ethos of teamwork, inclusivity and enjoyment at the heart of the team, resulting in the young children striving to be the best they can be. Their incredible dedication, as two 17-year-olds, is inspiring and as parents we want to give them the recognition they deserve.”

Grassroots League of The Year

Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Winner: Sheffield & Hallamshire Women and Girls’ League

Ahead of the 2021-22 season, the league agreed to expand their girls’ provision by introducing an U8s division. They managed to recruit 16 new teams at this age group, providing football for around 150 new players. The league is also supporting a neighbouring league to develop their own girls’ division. They appreciate that many teams would like a more localised offer and signpost teams from Doncaster to the new Doncaster & District Junior Sunday League. Their positive attitude and commitment to expanding their offer is helping us at the County FA work towards our objective of doubling female participation in our region by 2024.”

The Sheffield & Hallamshire England winners of the England Football & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards 2022

Grassroots Football Awards 2022