The England Football and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards are to recognise and celebrate the people who put their heart and soul into the grassroots game across England, and to say a huge thank you to the incredible volunteers who inspire us all.
Dorset County FA select a winner for each of the categories from all nominations and we're proud to share our winners with you.
Find out why our Award winners were nominated.
The Spirit of Grassroots Football Award - Adam Sevenoaks
“Adam is 13, and so deserving of this award because he volunteers to help coach disabled and neurodiverse children at the Dorset Children’s Foundation FC football sessions. He helps us to ensure that the sessions are inclusive and that wheelchair bound children are able to participate, passing on his knowledge of being in a chair himself. He is constantly thinking and improving our sessions and does so with such care and consideration.
Despite his own challenges, Adam has Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, it astonishes us the length that Adam will go to try and improve other peoples lives. The other children adore and look up to him and engage in his coaching. Without him we wouldn’t have the sessions in the form that they are now and that they grow week on week. His commitment and dedication to others is astonishing and we genuinely couldn’t run the sessions without him.”
Grassroots Volunteer of the Year Award - Darren Colarelli
“Darren is a volunteer at Dexter Sports Youth and is involved in the coaching of various age groups. This year he set up a First Aid event at the club, with the help of volunteers from the Dorset Ambulance Service to raise awareness of how important the basics of first aid are. He welcomed over 300 children and parents from the club, over 5 evenings, to enable them to grow their knowledge of first aid!
Darren never looks for praise, but would rather let others take credit for the success of the Club. He works tirelessly behind the scenes making sure the pitches and equipment are safe for the children to use, and is looking to run more first aid sessions in the future as the club continues to grow.”
Grassroots Coach of the Year Award - Glenn Hannam
“Glenn is an inspirational coach at Sherborne Town Youth FC, his focus on both player development and inclusivity has been outstanding. This year he worked tirelessly to adapt his coaching to successfully integrate players with neuro-diverse needs. He has looked beyond the traditional football skills and has sought to engender a strong sense of community and friendship within the team, never more so than during the covid 19 pandemic.
The impact of Glenn’s contribution is an inclusive team of players who love football and continue to grow in skill and confidence. Whatever the outcome of this nomination, we will continue to value him most highly!”
Rising Star of the Year Award - Marli McNab
“Marli was asked to write about something she wanted to change in the world, she chose racism! Marli produced a powerful and thought provoking presentation about the racism she has encountered growing up in Weymouth. Off the back of the project Marli has appeared on BBC South Today, BBC Radio London and has had conversations with Members of Parliament, HMRC and OFSTED about racism in schools.
Marli is a fantastic and inspirational young person and at 12 years of age she is already making a positive change for herself and others! She really has the passion and drive to ensure her voice is heard by many!”
Grassroots Adult Coach of the Year Award - Mike Orton
“Mike has coached so many players, from ages 4 to adults. He is dedicated to the teams he coaches and strives to make learning sport fun.
He is an inspiration to the young adults in the DS Active team, encouraging them on a Saturday morning.
He has led diversity and inclusion, supported mental health and allowed us to grow! Mike leads with compassion and honesty, and is considerate in his approach. He is the neutral ground in a team of 20 women! Mike is the best and deserves this award hands down!”
Grassroots Match Official of the Year Award - Paul Kirby
“Paul has worked his way through the referee pyramid and this season has achieved L5. He has continually applied himself and has been proven to be a great role model. He has taken on a mentoring role and now supports the DCFA Youth Core group inspiring referees aged 15 to 21.
Paul has been selected to be a match official at the National Deaf Football Finals at St George’s Park. What makes Paul stand out as a person is that he quite simply describes himself as, Paul Kirby, a Dorset Referee who is deaf, rather than Paul Kirby the deaf referee.
He is incredibly worthy of this award.”
Grassroots Club of the Year - Phoenix Youth FC
“Phoenix Youth was set up initially with only boys teams. After introducing a Wildcats girls training session, and in a short space of time, the club grew and now hosts an additional 3 girls teams.
Phoenix Youth has made football accessible to all, by keeping the costs for parents low! They also plough any extra money back into the club by providing team building activities and days out for the kids!
Thank you Phoenix Youth!”
Grassroots Groundsman of the Year - Gerald Dimarco
“Quite simply the club could not run without Gerald! The pitch at Swanage used to be notorious for having games called off but due to the hard work of Gerald this is now a rarity. He spends many hours, as a volunteer not only working on the pitch, but in other areas of the club too, being chief club photographer, videographer, statistician and social media guru!
He is Mr Reliable often spending 5 – 6 hours at the pitch asking nothing in return, just happy in a job well done!
Grassroots Project of the Year - Firmitude
Firmitude is a Community Interest Company that have, through dedicated sessions, developed football for women of all abilities. They have introduced Friday friendly festivals that offer women the chance to play and socialise after their game. Throughout lockdown they continued to connect the Firmitude family via an app, building a real community feel. Firmitude have identified a gap in provision for adult female players creating a solution that offers flexibility in terms of multiple locations, days and times enabling players to participate without long term commitment, however this flexibility has players returning time and time again.”
Grassroots League of the Year - Dorset Walking Football League
The Committee have worked tirelessly to come back after the break in football due to Covid. They have been able to give confidence to the teams in the league to return to football guaranteeing that all risks had been factored in. They developed a representative team that have recently had success at a National tournament. The Dorset Walking Football League have big plans to ensure the league continues for the teams they have now and the teams that they wish
to attract in the future.”
Congratulations to our Grassroots Award winners and a huge thank you to all our Grassroots Volunteers that support Football in Dorset!!