IT IS LITTLE wonder the judges faced such a tough task in deciding the Suffolk winners of The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards 2020.
With a record number of 87 entries – more than double that of last year – it was never going to be an easy job.
So difficult was it to separate some of the entries that a record number of eight entries were Highly Commended – and two of those were in the same category for the Grassroots Volunteer of the Year.
The Norfolk & Suffolk Youth League won two awards, but the remaining eight categories were shared around.
The Judging Panel was led by Suffolk FA Football Development Manager Jodie Allard and included the following:
Jodie Allard – Suffolk FA Football Development Manager
Amy Grantham – Suffolk FA Director
Carol Rogerson – McDonalds franchisee in Suffolk
John Clough – Active Suffolk Director
David Rose – Former Suffolk FA Director and current Suffolk FA Council member
Amber Sparkes – Winner of the 2019 Rising Star of the Year
Jodie Allard said: “A huge congratulations and well done to everyone who was nominated for this year’s The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards.
“With the increased number of nominations this season, our judging panel had the incredibly difficult and pleasurable task of selecting winners in each of the 10 categories, which is testament to the high standard of applications we received.
“Thank you to our sponsors, McDonald’s, and the members of our panel for their support in delivering this fantastic initiative each season.
“The individuals nominated were of a phenomenal standard and the panel felt very privileged to have the opportunity to hear more about the amazing work that our volunteers and partners do across the county to provide positive, safe and inclusive environments for everyone involved in the game.
“Congratulations again to all of this year’s winners and thank you to everyone who nominated their grassroot heroes for these awards.”
The winners and those highly commended will be invited to an Awards Ceremony during the 2020-21 season to receive their prizes.
The ten Suffolk winners will now go forward for judging at national level.
Former Ipswich Town player Bryan Hamilton is pictured (above right) speaking to guests at the 2019 Awards Ceremony held at Portman Road, home of Ipswich Town FC.
Roll of Honour 2020
Grassroots Coach of the Year (Adult team): Gemma Vass (AFC Kesgrave Ladies FC)
Highly Commended: Will Frost (Sporting 87 FC)
Grassroots Coach of the Year (Youth team): Stuart Horrex (Ipswich Phoenix FC)
Highly Commended: Harrison Ward (Felixstowe & Walton United FC)
Grounds Team of the Year: Sam Cloke (Leiston St Margaret’s FC)
Grassroots Club of the Year: Halesworth Town Youth FC
Highly Commended: Holbrook Hornets FC
Grassroots League of the Year: Norfolk & Suffolk Youth League
Grassroots Volunteer of the Year: Ed Smith (Stoke by Clare FC)
Highly Commended: Graham Hall (Trimley Red Devils FC) & David Cunningham (Sporting 87 FC)
Rising Star of the Year: Isabel Chaplin
Highly Commended: Amy King & Isaac Bell
We Only Do Positive Respect Award: Norfolk & Suffolk Youth League
Grassroots Match Official of the Year: Anthony Reeve
Highly Commended: Dexter Allen
Grassroots Project of the Year: Kirkley & Pakefield FC Junior Committee
Suffolk County FA 2019 winners
Suffolk County FA 2019 winners honoured