Grassroots club Mardy Tigers FC enjoyed an evening with Wales manager Chris Coleman when he visited the club to help promote the 2013 FAW Community Football Awards, presented by McDonald’s.
The club welcomed Chris to celebrate their achievements in last year’s FAW Community Football Awards with the club’s Wayne Jeremiah winning the national Coach of the Year Award.
Local coaches, clubs, leagues and volunteers can all be nominated now and be in with a chance of being awarded at regional or even national level with Pontypool residents urged to nominate their local football heroes via McDonalds.co.uk/awards.
As coach, manager and organiser of Mardy Tigers/PILCS LFC, Wayne’s main achievement has been to showcase women’s and girls’ football in the area – establishing a senior side who have just won their division at the first attempt. Currently, the junior section of the club has more than 100 girls taking part, whilst the senior team comprises of a 20 strong squad – making the club a prominent organisation for women’s football.
Wayne also works closely with local schools and has established a mini Tigers Academy, developing a young team who he has taken onto represent Wales in national competitions. Some former members have even gone onto win full international caps for Wales, thanks largely to Wayne’s coaching involvement and commitment.
Mardy Tigers FC has a huge reputation across the UK for producing excellent players with many of the girls progressing to the very top in Welsh and UK football.
Whilst at the club, Chris caught up with Mardy Tigers FC’s players and coaches and watched a training session, before taking part in a Q&A about his own grassroots career and his community heroes.
Speaking at the club, Chris was clear about the vital importance of the grassroots game: “Grassroots football is the lifeblood of the national game, without it football simply wouldn’t exist. All the players in each of my national squads would have started at clubs like Mardy Tigers and all will remember their first coaches and those who helped them when they were younger. The coaches and volunteers who sacrifice their time for these young footballers are priceless and deserve all the recognition they get from the Community Football Awards. I still remember the various coaches to this day standing in the rain when I was a young player and I can honestly say if it wasn’t for the support from them when I was a youngster I wouldn’t be where I am today.”
Wayne Jeremiah, Mardy Tigers FC coach, says: “It has been a fabulous day for the club and the kids as Chris is a real hero around here and to see him talking about his career and overseeing today’s training will stay with us all for a long time. Winning the Coach of the Year award last year was a great honour for me and a lot of it was down to the club as a whole and everyone involved in Mardy Tigers. We strive as a club to offer grassroots football to the entire community, girls, boys, young and old to ensure as many people as possible can enjoy the game we love so much.”
Nominations for The FAW Community Football Awards presented by McDonald’s are open until 27th May. To vote for a football coach, club or volunteer go to www.mcdonalds.co.uk/awards
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