Volunteers Celebrated in the FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards
The full list of winners of The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards is now complete, with worthy volunteers from across the country receiving recognition in 12 categories for their inspirational efforts in the local community.
Farouk Menia from London FA was one of the well-deserved winners, receiving the 2020 Grassroots Coach of the Year for Adults award. This was a posthumous award, to recognise Farouk’s extraordinary contribution to women’s football in London.
Originally from Tunisia, Farouk became the coach of AFC Phoenix shortly after arriving in the UK, a women’s team that would eventually merge with Dulwich Hamlet during his seven-year tenure. On a tiny budget, they thrived against big clubs including QPR Ladies and Fulham Women, succeeding thanks to Farouk and his coaching. Despite his humble living, he would appear at training with ankle braces or physio bands for injured players, paid for out of his own pocket. He would drive the team around and even make the end of game sandwiches.
Football was Farouk’s lifeline. Despite battling cancer over recent years, he continued to coach and encourage, often in the rain and freezing cold. Sadly, just prior to lockdown and in the middle of the season, Farouk Menia passed away.
He will be forever remembered for all he gave to the club and its players, many of whom, after long breaks or injury, fell back in love with football again thanks to him. A fitting tribute has been paid to him at Dulwich Hamlet’s home ground and you can view the video here
The FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards annually celebrate the efforts of volunteers across England who go the extra mile to support their local communities. Now in its eleventh year, The FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards saw a record amount of entries in 2020. Farouk Menia joins a long list of inspirational grassroots football heroes who have been recognised by the awards programme.
Following receipt of a record 4,761 nominations, The FA worked alongside respective County FAs to select local winners. The list of recipients was then deliberated upon by a judging panel and the full list of national winners from the 12 award categories can now be revealed in full, below:
- Grassroots Coach of the Year for Adults: Farouk Menia (London FA)
- Grassroots Coach of the Year for Youth: Tony Mitchell (Cheshire FA)
- Grounds Team of the Year: Paul Wade – Orpington FC (Kent FA)
- Grassroots Club of the Year: Sandbach United (Cheshire FA)
- Volunteer of the Year: Tony Pratt (Middlesex FA)
- Rising Star of the Year: Elsa Jones (Middlesex FA)
- We Only Do Positive Respect: Harefield United U16 (Middlesex FA)
- Grassroots Project of the Year: Diversity Football (Oxfordshire FA)
- Grassroots Match Official of the Year: Ella Broad (Wiltshire FA)
- Grassroots League of the Year: Herts Senior County League (Hertfordshire FA)
- Football Restaurant of the Year: Newhaven McDonald’s, Easts Sussex
- Bobby Moore Award: Oliver Miller (Manchester FA)
Paul Bickerton, London FA CEO, said: "We’re enormously proud that Farouk has been awarded the 2020 Grassroots Coach of the Year for Adults award. It is a very fitting and touching tribute to recognise his legacy and highlight the impact he has had on the players that he coached. At London FA we have a vision to use the power of grassroots football to enrich more lives in London and it is people like Farouk that make this vision a reality."
To find out more about all of The FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Award winners for 2020, visit www.thefa.com/get-involved/grassroots-football-awards/winners