League of the Year: Sussex Disability Football League
We are delighted to announce that the Sussex Disability Football League (SDFL) has won our Grassroots League 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.
Disability Football has faced an even bigger challenge than mainstream football to return following the pandemic, with a lot more caution from players to return to action.
Steve Atkins, Jade Harker and the whole SDFL committee worked hard not only to engage with players during lockdowns through innovative ways such as a league podcast; they also made a seamless return to regular fixtures in the 21/22 season.
They have expanded their committee and volunteer team to better support the needs of players and helped players with disabilities to take on leadership roles on matchdays, which shows that the league is going above and beyond to change the lives of people for the better.
For many players, it’s the highlight of the month when they get to come to the league and the environment that has been created, means the players and their parents/guardians feels safe and confident.
The league's ambition to keep doing more is what makes it so great. They could easily just run the fixtures each month and they would continue to get more interest, as they are the only disability league in the county. However, they keep running more initiatives to grow.
They've supported us in our Careers in Football Day for young people, delivery of an FA Inclusive Level One course and have completed their England Football Accreditation this season.
Within this, they have plans to grow even further by partnering with special needs schools and grassroots clubs to grow the number of youth teams in the league.
The league’s enthusiasm for growing disability football and the patience and care they have with the players is outstanding. They are thoroughly deserved recipients of this award.
To find out more about The FA and McDonald's Grassroots Football Awards please contact: