The Hertfordshire FA Community Awards 2017

Hertfordshire FA celebrated local grassroots football at the 13th annual Community Awards evening last week at Hitchin Town Hall.

The evening honoured the incredible range of accomplishments made by football players, teams, clubs and volunteers in Hertfordshire over the past season.

Arsenal Ladies and Lionesses Star, Danielle Carter, made the evening all the more special as she attended as a special guest on the evening. Danielle presented awards, talked guests though her sublime 2016 FA Cup Final winning goal and also had an open Q&A with all the attendees.

Hertfordshire FA were also delighted to have Watford FC and BBC presenter, Emma Saunders, MC the awards evening.

A range of awards were presented on the night, including:

  • The FA Community Awards, supported by McDonalds - (Public Nomination)
  • Outstanding Achievement Awards
  • 50 Years’ Service Awards

The FA Community Awards, supported by McDonalds.

Seven grassroots champions from across the county were named as this year's winners of the Hertfordshire FA Community Awards, supported by McDonald's.

Since February people have been nominating local grassroots heroes, from individual volunteers to Clubs and Leagues… and the response was fantastic.

Following an eight-week nomination period a judging panel, made up of representatives from -Hertfordshire FA, Watford FC, Stevenage FC, Arsenal Ladies, North Herts District Council and McDonalds - selected this year's winners for their invaluable commitment to the grassroots game, week in, week out.

Winners are awarded at county, regional and national level, providing plenty of opportunity for grassroots football heroes across the country to be recognised.

Berkhamsted Raiders Community Football Club and local grassroots football legend Ted Collie were presented as the regional award winners for their respective categories on the night; seeing off competition from across the south east of England.

Both Raiders and Ted are now on the shortlist for the national FA Community Awards supported by McDonald's, and are in with a chance to visit Wembley for the ceremony later this year.

McDonald's is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the UK. Their work has ranged from training football coaches and running community football days, to equipping the UK's 5,000-plus FA-accredited football clubs with brand new kit each year – and they are on track to donate their 250,000th kit this year.

This year’s winners:

FA Charter Standard Club of the Year

Harpenden Colts FC

Harpenden Colts FC: Ian Holden, Vicky Clarke, Ed Venner, Simon King, Jos Sharpe

Harpenden Colts FC have taken an innovative and inclusive approach to providing football opportunities for boys, girls and disabled children from 6 - 18 years old.

Those opportunities cover both those who wish to play in structured league teams, and those who want to play in coached groups with no pressure to play competitively. The club operates based on a written nine point club philosophy that helps to drive the direction of the club, and has a membership of nearly a 1,000 player across 60 teams.

About the category: Since The FA’s Charter Standard quality assurance programme was launched in 2001, it has had an undeniably positive effect on the provision of grassroots football, particularly in younger age groups. There are currently over 60 Charter Standard clubs in Hertfordshire which made it a tough category to judge.

FA Charter Standard Development Club of the Year 

Bedwell Rangers FC

Bedwell Rangers

Stevenage based Bedwell Rangers FC provide opportunities for children to play football in a safe, secure and enjoyable environment.

In 2016/17 the club has continued to grow and now supports over 550 young people of all abilities, providing football for players aged 4 up to 18, including fully inclusive football. With an Ethos built on allowing players to enjoy themselves, the club now has over 140 active volunteers and recently supported safeguarding initiatives for all volunteers to undergo CRB check and attend safeguarding courses.

About the category: The county’s development clubs provide football for boys and girls of all ages. Most have adult teams, level 2 coaches and a 5 year development plan.  This category focuses on quality with 11 teams in the county awarded development club status; however there are plenty of Charter clubs currently working towards stepping up.

FA Charter Standard Community Club of the Year

Berkhamsted Raiders CFC

Berkhamsted Raiders CFC: Keith Pollard & Ian Sayle

A Uefa award winning youth club, Berkhamsted Raiders CFC has grown from a collection of individual teams run by individual managers to a community organisation providing football for around 1,000 children in Berkhamsted and surrounding areas.

Raiders’ philosophy is summed up as: “Combining excellence in the community with excellence on the pitch” with no player prevented from joining the club on grounds of ability. The club strive to provide football for all and within the last year, these efforts have seen Raiders double the number of girls’ teams, launch a successful walking Football initiative and grow their services for Inclusive Football.

Furthermore their partnership with the local secondary school, Ashlyns, on the Berkoastro 3G project is a model of a how a youth football club and a school can work together successfully for the benefit of the club, the school, the local community and other local clubs.

About the category: Community club status is the pinnacle of the Charter Standard award structure. Hertfordshire is home to some of the largest clubs in the county providing football for adults, girls, boys, futsal, disability football and links to schools and the wider community. These clubs provide the highest quality positive environment for young people to enjoy the game of football.

FA Best Inclusive Project of the Year

Hitchin Town FC Ability Counts

HTFC Ability Counts: Callum Ellis, Jo Crouch, Julie Outram, Kevin and Mark

For countless years Jo Crouch and Julie Outram have supported the Hitchin Town FC Ability Counts team by applying for tournaments and driving players to the games and home again. Last season the pair raised overly £2,000 last season to take the squad to Belfast to compete in the George Best Community Cup - a 70 team Disability Football tournament for clubs throughout the UK and Ireland.

The Ability Counts squad has over 30 players registered on their books with players of all abilities, from recovering alcoholics and the homeless, to players with Down syndrome and mental health issues.  The trip to Belfast took our players out of their comfort zone and made them experience new challenges. They made new friends, improved their communication skills and a gained a real sense of self-confidence.

About the Category: The Best Inclusive Project encourages participation for all, regardless of age, disability, gender, race, religion or sex.  A wide range of projects were nominated in this category that championed inclusion agendas, and displayed a significant positive impact on the local community….

FA Young Volunteer of the Year

Thierry Lawrence (Hemel Aces FC)

Thierry Lawrence

Thierry started out with Hemel Aces as a young player and has now gone full circle, now helping to develop the next generation.

16 year old Thierry has been volunteering over the past 3 years and has put in over 150 hours of his time on Saturday mornings, and some weekday evenings, over the past season. Thierry coaches the U6, U7 and U8 Soccer School, where he shows a natural rapport with the younger players, who engage with his enthusiastic approach to the coaching sessions.

About the Category: This category is a chance to reward the future of football within Hertfordshire, to recognize those people under the age of 25 that have shown commitment and responsibility even some adults would shy from, especially when these volunteers are usually still playing themselves.

FA Coach of the Year

Claire Hendry (Evergreen FC)

Claire Hendry

Claire took on the job of helping to set up the girls division at Evergreen CFC in the summer of 2015, and now coach’s girls from the ages of 4 to 10 at the club.

A parent of one Claire’s players said: “As a parent I’ve stood at the sidelines and watched many coaches with a sole priority to win the match. Claire is not one of those coaches. Her priority first and foremost is to instil in all the girls, regardless of their ability, a love of sport.”

“It is a joy to turn up to training every week and see so many girls wanting to run around and be part of a team... We need more girls in sport and we need more people like Claire to make it happen!”

About the Category: Coach’s skills are essential for teaching and developing players at every level of football and can never be underestimated. All coaches entered into this category gave their players the best opportunities to develop and achieve their maximum potential…and more importantly, inspire players to enjoy the game.

Outstanding Contribution to Community Football

Ted Collie (Herts Senior County League)

Phil Knott & Ted Collie

Edward Collie, known as Ted, has served football - through a range of voluntary roles - unselfishly and enthusiastically for over 50 years. Ted currently serves as the Chairman of the Herts Senior County League and also president of Hatfield Town FC.

His dedication to provide opportunities for people to play the game he loves has meant that he’s been on the forefront of innovation in the game for a number of years. Ted helped to develop Inclusive (pan-disability) divisions of the HCSL, which is now in its 4th full season.

In addition to the Inclusive League, Ted has also been at the sharp end of addressing adult participation in 11v11football. His dedication to solving this problem has been very impressive too. From studying FA resources and toolkits, to chairing a ‘Leagues Steering Group’ with volunteers from other adult leagues in the County to define and solve the problems that they’re facing.

Ted helped to organise and develop the Herts AID Cup with local charity Herts Aid too.  The Herts AID Cup – now in its 6th year - is an 11v11 adult men’s football tournament usually with 8-12 teams from BME groups in the county. The focus of the day is on exercise, health and wellbeing with resources available on sexual health awareness, diabetes, and smoking cessation.

About the Category: This is an award by The FA to recognise an individual that has made a long-term impact on the game we all love.

County and regional winners of the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Community Football’ category enter the ‘People’s Award’, which is voted for by the public and the winner is then announced at The FA Community Awards national ceremony. This very special award celebrates exceptional volunteering efforts and carries the added prestige of being voted for by the public.

50 Years’ Service Awards

Receiving 50 Years’ Service awards this year:

Ian Turner - Youth Secretary of Evergreen FC for 50 years!

Ron Pateman - Long serving local referee.

Ian Turner and Ron Pateman with Hertfordshire FA Director, Steve Trulock.

Many clubs and leagues would not be successful if it wasn’t for the hard work of individuals behind the scenes in grassroots football. The Football Association make awards to people who have given 50 years' service to football, including involvement as a player, referee or Club, League or County administrator.


Outstanding Achievement Awards

Michael Masters collects his award from Emma Saunders

Broxbourne Borough U18s

History Makers - Making it to the 5th round of the FA Youth Cup

Broxbourne Borough U18s defied all expectations to make it to the 5th round of the FA Youth Cup, eventually getting knocked out by Aston Villa at Villa Park. To put their achievement in context, Broxbourne made it further than the youth teams of both Arsenal & Man Utd, and also made history, becoming the first ever non-league outfit to make it to the 5th round!

Boreham Wood FC PASE Academy

National Treble Winners in College Competitions

Boreham Wood FC PASE Academy claimed a national league and cup treble; becoming both the National College Champions of England and Wales, and the Conference League’s ‘Champion of Champions’. The Wood’s youngsters overcame a range of opponents on route to their success, becoming arguably the most successful college scheme in the country last season.

University of Hertfordshire Futsal Club

Both male & female teams claim BUCS titles.

In the Futsal format, we want to highlight the achievements of the University of Hertfordshire Futsal teams. Both the men’s & women’s teams had superb seasons, with both winning regional BUCS titles and competing in national championships.

Alex Bush

World Cup Bronze Medal Winner with GB Deaf Women’s Squad.

Letchworth teenager, Alex Bush, was the youngest player selected for Great Britain Women at the recent Deaf World Cup in Italy, not only that, she came away with a Bronze medal! Alex made her international debut against the hosts Italy and won 5-0, before Team GB overcome Poland 2-0 to win the bronze.

Aspire PowerChair

Reigning FA Disability Cup PowerChair Football Champions

In Powerchair Football, Watford based Aspire PFC continued their incredible success on the national stage. After completing the WFA League & FA Cup double last season, the reigning champions defended their FA Disability title last month with a 2-1 win over Birmingham side Villa Rockets PFC at St George’s Park.

What’s more, Aspire PFC players Jon Bolding and Charlie Kitcher have been selected to represent England in this year’s 2017 FIPFA World Cup. The competition takes place next month in Florida.

Michael Masters

Peterborough FC Amputee Star & GB Amputee International

Baldock resident Michael Masters was also a winner at this year’s FA Disability Cup with his Peterborough United Amputee team clinching the title for a second successive year, winning 3-2 against Everton. Michael has also been included in the GB Amputee squad for Euro 2017;  one of 13 players picked by manager Owen Coyle Jnr for the tournament, which will be held in Turkey in October.

For more information on the Hertfordshire FA Community Awards, please contact Marketing & Communications Officer, Callum Riley on 01462 650218 or via