We are delighted to announce that Christian Justice of Rustington Otters has won our Grassroots Project of the Year Award as part of The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards.
The awards aim to recognise and reward volunteers, match officials, clubs and leagues across the county who have made a difference to grassroots football in their local community.
Rustington Otters Under-11s coach, Christian Justice, is always positive, encouraging and motivating for all team players along with their parents/carers too. When the national lockdown was announced at the beginning of January, Christian suggested to the team, "Road to Wembley" as an exercise challenge for everyone (including parents/carers, siblings and family dogs!) to take part in while helping to fundraise for Cancer Research UK.
It was a great way to remember and acknowledge one of the team's parents, who sadly lost a very brave battle to cancer at Christmas.
‘Road to Wembley’ was inspired by The FA Cup ties in early January which would involve the team players and families covering a distance of 57 miles each, equal to the distance from Rustington Otters HQ to the home of football, Wembley Stadium, a combined total of 1,300 miles done.
It was an ideal way for each team player to keep active/keep fit during lockdown, keep positive and stay connected as a team, even if it was virtually, as well as raising funds for a cause especially close to one team player and family.
His original and unique idea was a great motivator for all the team with a focus on keeping in touch via WhatsApp messages with photos of running, jogging and dog walking
Christian is always supportive to each and every player with words of encouragement, positive feedback, and ways to develop as an individual within the team, "Road to Wembley" is a great example of Christian's ethos for the team and all of the players.
Upon winning this award, Christian had this to say: "I am absolutely thrilled and totally surprised to receive the award. The support we gained and the money we raised during our ‘Road to Wembley’ was brilliant.
"For our efforts, to be recognised with this award is really heartwarming and made the miles we covered during the dark, cold, wet days and nights in lockdown even more worthwhile. Once again, a massive thank you to everyone who supported our cause and helped us raise the best part of £2000 for Cancer Research UK in memory of Paul Bridle."
To find out more about The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards please contact: