Yesterday, we announced the winners of our Grassroots Football Awards for 2020.
The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards are for people who make a positive difference. It’s our way to celebrate the fantastic individuals who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across England – and say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers who inspire us all.
The nominations we received were very strong that the judging panel had a tough time deciding the winners.
As everyone was deserving, we decided to further highlight the great work AFA clubs and volunteers are doing and gave commended awards too.
Read all about our winners and commended nominations below.
Rising Star of the Year
Winner: Alexandros Pieri
As a referee Alexandros is calmness personified. He has an air of authority that is not dictatorial but in control. He is pleasant with parents, coaches and players who regularly praising him for the way he officiates their matches. Alexandros will go out of his way to help young footballers understand the Laws of the Game. There is an education in the way he officiates, and this is one of his great strengths; he aims to ensure the stakeholders understand why a decision was made - making the grassroots environment a positive one.
Commended: Khaleel Motara (Bealonians)
Khaleel is a very quiet person and placid, what makes him stand out in the football world. The impact through his performance has seen U18s have their best season yet. He also plays for the seniors bringing a freshness and willingness to the 1st XI. Fitting in with the established players and building strong playing relationships; for a young man of 17 this is impressive. He is not fazed by this level or even the elder opposition he plays against, he just PLAYS FOOTBALL, something that he loves to do. His influence on others has a massive impact, especially for young players striving to play at a higher standard.
Project of the Year
Winner: Super 5 League
Super 5 League provides a safe, competitive space for women to play 5-a-side football in London. This season, the league put a project plan in place to develop their outreach and now has six divisions, including a veteran’s section. They've actively encouraged more women into playing football in East London. This in turn has helped individuals, regardless of ability, to enjoy belonging to a team and gain fitness.
Commended: Bealonians (Home Sweet Home)
Bealonians were faced with the threat of losing their home of nearly 10 years and so set about securing their future and improving the facilities at their ground. The success of this project (Home Sweet Home) has had a massive impact on the whole club. The club were successful and took over the management and operation of the club house and grass pitches. This will allow their senior and youth teams to play in a safe and secure environment.
Match Official of the Year
Winner: Luke Burford
Luke has come on leaps and bounds this season as a referee and recently joined his County FA Referee Development Group. This was his first season refereeing open aged football this season, and his eagerness to learn and progress is fantastic particularly for a young referee. He asks plenty of questions which is great for his development, has a great attitude and a willingness to succeed. Luke was also successful this season in gaining promotion to Level 6.
Commended: Liam Giles and Terry Davis
Liam is a great referee but also a fantastic observer and mentor to younger referees coming through the game. He is willing to give up his time to develop those who need help and go above and beyond what is expected of him.
As a grassroots match official, Terry is very easy going and gets on well with players from both sides when refereeing. He applies the laws and rules of the game fairly and can also demonstrate these with individuals who are less informed and vocal, without causing conflict. He runs the game with vigor and enthusiasm and has never let anyone down as far as I am aware. There is always a friendly face after the game, and he interacts with both teams after the games.
Coach of the Year (Adult Clubs)
Winner: Graham Shepherd (Bealonians)
Graham has many attributes that impresses, and he brings all these to his volunteer role as football coach for Bealonians FC. He has been at the club for what seems a life time, playing and coaching. His commitment and availability are second to none and combined with his coaching demeanor, which is extremely instructive but in a quiet way, he is liked by the members he is involved with.
Commended: Peter Walsh (Old Thorntonians)
Peter is dedicated to the cause of the 1st team. He has wholly invested himself in training and man management of players and been of immense importance to the ongoing success of the club this season. Peter has shown huge commitment to the club and improved standards all round.
Club of the Year
Winner: Wanderers FC
Wanderers have had a great 12 months, with highlights including, finding their first permanent home pitch in Upper Norwood, raising over £10k to invest in the facility. The club launched the first real-life CALM Zone as part of a partnership with the mental health charity, CALM providing a safe and inclusive environment for people to play football in.
Commended: Goal Diggers FC
Goal Diggers FC provides opportunities for women in London to play in a safe and inclusive environment. The club has in excess of 150 members and caters for all levels of abilities. Most recently, they have started a veteran and walking football side to ensure football really is for all.
Volunteer of the Year
Winner: Shahid Malji (Super 5 League)
Shahid has taken female football in London to a whole new level. The league he runs now has over 50 women’s teams taking part in weekly football and he works tirelessly to keep improving the league and experience for those taking part, including the coaches and referees.
Commended: Paul Burton (Old St Mary’s), Kevin Lawler (Old Salesians), Tavish Mahandru (Bealonians), Paul Shrosbree (Old Parmiterians)
Paul has been the club treasurer at Old St Mary’s for over twenty years. He has kept the club on a stable financial footing where others have gone under. He is unfailingly polite and helpful. He is very supportive of team captains. He has adapted to (almost) cashless collection of membership and match fees. Some clubs go under because they don’t collect match fees and allow debts to build up. Paul ensures this doesn’t happen and acts with absolute integrity. No club can keep going without a good treasurer and we have a great one.
Kevin is a fantastic person and is the principal reason that club (Old Salesians) is still in existence. Kevin is the Club Chairman & the Referee & Match Secretary at the club, but he is so much more than that. He has a love for the club and is willing to turn his hand to whatever is required. Kevin is welcoming, forgiving, open-minded, hard-working, selfless, enthusiastic, fair, patient, forward thinking, principled, humble, friendly, respectful, thoughtful, honest & emphatic. He embodies everything that is great about amateur football & I am proud he leads our club.
Tavish’s role consists of many traits and he is a vital cog in the wheel at Bealonians. He has been responsible for the clubhouse from the following angles Opening / Closing, Functions, Staffing, Cleaning, Security, Match day organisation and is the 'Face' for questions and service. He performs all these pieces within his role, and nothing seems to faze him. His positive attitude to everything is impressive and he strives to do whatever is required.
Paul re-joined Old Parmiterians as Treasurer two years ago, having played for many seasons in the 80/90's. The club has 14 Adult sides every Saturday, so the Treasurers role is vital. Paul has been involved from day one, often attending training during the week or Saturday’s on match day to meet captains/managers. He also did a 'teach in' for several on how the administration and finances are worked, so they can better understand how the club is run.