The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Award Winners
The England Football and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards 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.
All our winners have encouraged the very best, both in yourself and in everybody around them. They have risen to overcome challenges and made a truly positive impact in the game.
Oxfordshire FA are so proud and happy to have them all in our grassroots community.
Grassroots Volunteer of the Year - Donna Raraty - Chinnor Youth FC
Donna has led a revolution of girls’ football at Chinnor Youth FC. Just a season ago, the club had no girls’ team, but now, just a year later, there are three teams playing in the league, and over 90 girls in the village have started playing football.
However, she is still always looking for ways to try and grow female football at Chinnor Youth, and is always developing projects to inspire both the players and coaches – including setting up the Youth Council to ensure the children have a voice in the decision-making process.
The passion Donna has for the game is reflected by the girls at the club, and the friendly and enthusiastic atmosphere she has created encourages everybody. She has inspired women and girls from across her community to get involved in playing and coaching.
Rising Star of the Year - Hannah Finn - Launton Ladies FC
Hannah is not only a star on the pitch, but off it too.
On top of her commitments of playing for Launton Ladies FC and coaching their U11s team, she has recently set up a Youth Council in order to ensure girls are engaged with the club. She takes her time to create forms and surveys for players, and meets with the League Committee to ensure standards are met.
A former member of the OFA Youth Leadership Team, Hannah shows great promise as a young leader who is committed to improving grassroots football.
Despite the fact she’s still only 18, she’s a fantastic role model for everybody in the game.
Grassroots Coach of the Year for Adults - Samantha Wadey-Smith - Carterton Town Ladies
Samantha is a fantastic listener who is always available to her players should they wish to discuss any issues - both on and off the pitch – and is very understanding of the individual needs of each of her players.
She has helped create an inclusive environment at Carterton Town Ladies, where all players feel welcome, and she knows the importance of playing football in the right spirit – ensuring players are gracious when things don’t go their way, and giving plenty of encouragement both in training and on matchday.
Grassroots Coach of the Year for Youth – Ben Davies - Chinnor Youth FC Girls
Ben has achieved so much in a small amount of time. Despite only setting up Chinnor Youth FC Girls in March 2021, the club is now home to 90 girls ranging from U7 to U13.
His training sessions are exceptional, and he ensures they are tailored to allow all the girls to build up their confidence when learning a new skill.
No matter how his team plays, Ben is always up for a laugh, and is always getting involved in club TikTok videos, whilst he also takes the lead on initiatives for anti-bullying day and Voice of a Child.
Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football - Des Williams - Oxfordshire Schools FA
Des has given over 50 years of service to schools’ football through various roles - most famously his role as secretary for Oxfordshire Schools FA. He has put tremendous work and dedication into the growth and development of schools’ competition and representative sides over the years.
Des has recently retired from his role as secretary and this award is a thank you for his service to the game in Oxfordshire.
Outstanding Contribution to Grassroots Football - George Fleetwood - Oxfordshire Schools FA & Witney & District Youth Football League
George has given over 40 years of service to local youth football through his roles with Oxfordshire Schools FA and Witney & District Youth Football League. He has also had a huge impact on the growth and development of youth football.
He has recently retired from his role on OSFA and this is a special thank you for his service to the game.
Grassroots Project of the Year - Walking Football Project - Cherwell District Council & Banbury United in the Community
Since setting up in 2021, the Cherwell District Council & Banbury United in the Community Walking Football Project has provided invaluable physical and mental health support for older people in the area.
The sessions are the highlight of the week for many of the 20 players, with all of them making new friends and building their social circle. Project leaders Harry and Ryan also organise social events, including a curry night, to make sure everyone can get involved off the pitch as well.
They have come a long way in very short space of time!
Spirit of Grassroots Football Award - Steve Bott - Witney Vikings Youth FC
Steve is involved in pretty much every area of Witney Vikings Youth. He coaches both the boys and girls’ teams, as well as the women’s recreational session on Sunday mornings, and also books the pitches for all the club’s matches. He also ensures everyone in the club gets a trophy each year - more than 500 trophies in total!
Everyone at Witney Vikings Youth knows that, if they have any query or problem, they can rely on Steve to help them out. Thanks to Steve’s incredible dedication, Witney Vikings has garnered a great reputation as a family club all across Oxfordshire.
Whenever Steve isn’t working his actual full-time job, he is spending time managing the club in whatever way he can.
Grassroots Grounds Team of the Year - James Forder - Goring Robins
Goring Robins groundsman James is a shining example of how the Grass Pitch Improvement Programme helps clubs in Oxfordshire.
He maintains eight pitches across two sites and helped the club successfully apply for Football Foundation funding for the last six years, as well as Grass Pitch Maintenance and Machinery funding.
This has helped the club acquire a brand-new tractor, which has helped improve the quality of the pitches - leading to excellent feedback from players and the landowners – the Parish Council.
James is so widely admired for his work in pitch maintenance, that he has been selected as a case study by groundskeeping community app Hive, and has also been asked to bring his expertise to other clubs.
CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL OF OUR WINNERS!