award event

London FA Celebrate Our 2023 Grassroots Heroes

In partnership with City of London, London FA hosted our Grassroots Heroes Awards night at the prestigious Guildhall on Wednesday 31 January.

Joined by London FA partners, board, and council, we hosted a night of celebration as we welcomed to the stage our 2023 Grassroots Heroes Award winners to commemorate their achievements. 

award eventThe awards celebrate those individuals who make a positive contribution to football across the capital. The awards night was a chance to recognise those volunteers who make such an impact on our community. 

Hosted by London FA Community Champions and hosts of podcast Who’s Got The Balls Steph Fairburn and Ali Speechly, we welcomed each of our winner to the stage to accept their award and share the impact of their work.

Steph and Ali had this to say on hosting the awards: “It was an honour for us to host the awards. We had an incredible time in a room full of people doing so many positive things for our game. 

Congratulations to all of the winners! Hearing your stories and the reasons why you do what you do inspired us all to keep fighting for grassroots football to be a better, safer space for all. Here's to 2024 and all of the amazing work we know is going to take place across London!”

A reminder of our winners: 

  • Positive Environment Award – Stacie King 
  • Young Volunteer of the Year – Levin Dookhun 
  • Match Official of the Year – Luka Elson
  • The Lioness Award – Ellie Guedalla & Julie Leaff 
  • Coach of the Year (Male Pathway) – Jaden Cameron 
  • Coach of the Year (Female Pathway) – Paul Parker 
  • Coach of the Year (Disability Pathway) – Rhea Daly 
  • Club of the Year – R77 Soccer School 
  • League of the Year – Girls Super League

We were proud to welcome our Guest of Honour, coach and former professional football Jermain Defoe! Jermain diligently handed out the awards to our winners and participated in a Q&A session during the awards ceremony. It was a pleasure  to have him attend the event as someone who started his career in grassroots football in London. 


There was also a raffle hosted in aid of our charity partner The Felix Project. The Felix Project is London’s largest redistribution charity, rescuing food that would otherwise have gone to waste and give it to around 1,000 community organisations and schools every week. You can find out more about The Felix Project here. 

Our CEO, Paul Bickerton, had this to say about the evening: “Once again, many congratulations to our winners on the night and a heartfelt thank you from all of us at London FA for all that you do for grassroots football in London. It was a real privilege to be able to celebrate with you all at the Guildhall. 

I do hope that the event demonstrated how much we value and appreciate the dedication and commitment of our wonderful army of volunteers, who ensure that our great game continues to grow and thrive across the capital.”

Congratulations to all our winners from everyone at London FA!

Want to nominate your Grassroots Hero? Nominations for the 2024 winners will be opening soon so keep your eye out for more information!