Derbyshire FA Grassroots Football Awards Winners 2023/24

Congratulations to this years deserved winners!

We’re Delighted To Announce The Winners Of The Derbyshire FA Grassroots Football Awards 2023/24.



Kenny Sharpe (Stockbrook Colts FC)

Kenny Sharpe is deeply involved in the operations and management of Stockbrook Colts, a local football club dedicated to supporting the youth in the community. Kenny founded Stockbrook Colts in 2005 with a focus on community engagement. As part of Kenny's community focus, he undertakes a number of fundraising activities and community challenges to help support the local area. Kenny's fundraising activities have allowed the club to help support the players within their club to ensure they can participate without the normal financial barriers that would otherwise prevent them playing the beautiful game. This includes the purchase of players equipment such as shin pads and football boots, so no-one goes without. Kenny's fundraising initiatives within the club don't just stop at helping the club either. During the 23/24 season, fundraising has also been done to support the local YMCA and a local defibrillator fundraising group. Kenny also volunteers as a venue co-ordinator for the Derby Junior Football League at the Racecourse Hub. His main aim is to ensure that all children playing are playing in a positive environment. The fact Kenny is able to do this on top of his own personal commitments with Stockbrook Colts shows how truly dedicated he is to local youth football.




Shaun Crawley (Willington FC)

Shawn is Club Secretary for Willington FC in South Derbyshire. He has been in this role for a number of years dedicating numerous hours every week supporting the club to ensure there is a local team for both children and adults to play for. Shawn identified at the start of the 23/24 season that Willington FC had been struggling with discipline within their club. Shawn reached out to Derbyshire FA on his own accord to ask for help to educate the team managers within the club about their responsibilities as well as what they can do. Since this, there has been a monumental change in the club's discipline record for the better. Shawn is the only Club Secretary to have made such a request on his own accord having recognised the problems the club faced. I think both the ability to recognise a problem in the first instance and then to put things in motion to make such a change can only demonstrate further why Shawn deserves such an award as the figurehead for making the environment within his club positive for everyone.



Nathan Neequaye (Tintwistle Athletic FC)

Nathan is the manager and head coach of Tintwistle Athletic 1st team. When Nathan finished playing football at a semi-professional level, he decided to get into coaching and the club supported Nathan to complete his UEFA B qualification. He took on the role of 1st team manager and has made a massive difference to the team performance and this is due to his ethos and dedication to the role. Nathan is also a role model to all the other coaches at the club. Nathan works with the clubs junior members and manages school holiday soccer camps, working with girls and boys of all ages that either currently play for a team and want to learn new skills, or those new to football and want to give it a try. Last season, Nathan managed Tintwistle Athletic, playing in the Manchester Football league Division 1 and he had double cup success, not only winning the League Cup, but also the Derbyshire FA Divisional Cup North. This year, the team have gone from strength to strength and are champions again of the Derbyshire FA Divisional Cup North but also success in the league means they are currently sitting in a promotional position for the Premier Division. This would be the highest divisional level the club will have ever reached.




La’Keisha Burton (New Tupton Ivanhoe FC)

La’Keisha is a coach at New Tupton Ivanhoe FC for one of the U8 teams, Wildcats and more recently introduced the squad into the club. She's been coaching for 20 years now and is one of the grassroots coaches who quietly do their job very well and takes on extra responsibilities when other people can't commit to ensure the kids get an uninterrupted and fun time playing football.  She has always been welcoming to everyone and created a warm, fun atmosphere. This season, she has taken on the Wildcats programme, and this has now grown to more than double the figures that previously attended. La’Keisha has left a very positive mark on grassroots football, she has encouraged many coaches over the years and is always welcoming for new ideas. 




Terry Lewis (Hilton Harriers FC All-Inclusive)

Terry is an outstanding coach. He gives up his time twice a week for our young people so that they can play football with their friends. He makes the sessions fun, and they all enjoy it so much. The group feel at home with Terry, and he makes such a difference in their lives. They are all accepted for who they are and can be themselves without judgement. Terry doesn’t judge the young squad; he makes the sessions fun and stretches them to do things they wouldn’t normally do in a safe and friendly way. He knows all of their individual talents. It’s clear to see every week and to see young people having such fun and being accepted is very comforting to see.




Tom Viles

Tom has been involved in refereeing for years and has always been happy to help anyone with their refereeing, from new referees to the more experienced ones! Over the last couple of seasons specifically, Tom has since became more involved with various refereeing programmes in order to make a positive difference. He has joined the Erewash Referee Society Committee with the role of trying to recruit new young referees to our society, coupled with this he has been instrumental in setting up the Erewash Valley Youth Engagement Group, which is designed to help not only newer younger referees (both in & out of the society) but also their parents with questions. This is expanding with them looking to become involved with the Derby Junior Football League. Also, Tom has been the Welfare & Coaching Lead for the DCFA Referee Development Academy, ensuring that the referees are being looked after, as well as spending time to ensure that they are getting coached to help their progression. Tom is a selfless individual who deserves this nomination and recognition for the fantastic work that he does across the refereeing world aside from his own refereeing commitments.




Joe Lee (Aston Village FC Ladies)

Joe Lee set up and coaches the Aston Village Ladies team. In a year Joe has created a team of 23 women. He's worked so hard to improve the fitness and skills of the players and made them believe they are capable of achieving what they desire if they set their minds to it and believe in themselves. They’ve all made new friends and released ambitions they didn't think we're possible. Joe is one in a million and honestly puts a smile on not only his own players faces but also opponents, spectators and everyone else we come across as a team. Joe has changed the life of every single woman on the team. Primarily an older group of women who have never played football before, Joe has had so much patience and given them so much of his time to help progress and gives so much positive encouragement. Joe has arranged great sponsors for the team and driven the support of the whole village for our team. Joe only takes the positives away from the games and makes sure they have actions to take away and work on in training which is paying off as the scores are improving each week. He's given the team self-belief and made training and matches the highlight of the week.




John Chambers (Codnor Boys FC)

John is responsible for the groundskeeping and maintenance for Codnor Sports Club where Codnor Boys FC play their football fixtures at. The grass pitch at the facility has seen vast improvements because of John's hard work and commitment to the maintenance. The club joined the Football Foundation scheme 'grass pitch maintenance fund' in March 2020 which has seen the pitch develop further and improve the condition and quality of the pitch. When Codnor Sports Club joined the grass pitch maintenance fund in March 2020, the pitch was in very good condition and rated as 64%, now in year 3 of the 6-year fund, the pitch has improved to 73% and rated as 'Advanced' in the latest PitchPower report. In addition to the fantastic work John has done with the pitch improvements, John has also been very active at all facility workshops that the County FA, Grounds Management Association and Football Foundation have delivered. Finally, John is often posting updates/advice and tips on the Hive Application.




Rhia Oliver (Swadlincote Town FC)

Rhia started with the club in the summer of 2023, she took on the role of Child Welfare Officer and has made a huge difference to the children putting the care and welfare at the forefront of everything the club stands for. Not only does she put the children at the forefront, but she is also there for all volunteers and parents alike. Rhia on countless time has been on the end of a phone for volunteers where things have gotten too much or suffering with their own mental health, to help and support. Rhia has also been a huge advocate of the ethos of the club to allow kids of any background, ability the chance to play football and has led the way in the club now starting a comets sessions for children with disabilities. Due to Rhia’s help on numerous occasions, volunteers, parents and children have remained in the sport when they otherwise may have fell out of love with the sport, due to various issues. She makes such a difference to coaches reminding them regularly why they do what they do and at the end of the day it comes down to the children within the club. Rhia selflessly does it for the love of seeing children participate in sport, and build family and friends.




Mitchell Causer (Swadlincote Town FC)

Mitchell came into Swadlincote Town as a shy young man but has grown to become a real asset to the girls he coaches not only as a coach but as the guy who always makes them laugh and smile and always makes sure they are okay as he knows from his own experience that it’s not always easy. He is just smiles and fun and a great coach. Since coaching with the Serpents, Mitchell has managed to completely change the mindset and the thought process of many girls In the team, not only about football and their own game but how they can help and affect others in a positive way. Mitch is always the first one to crack a joke make the girls smile. Mitch is such an asset and the team love him.




New Tupton Ivanhoe FC

New Tupton Ivanhoe boasts over 20 grassroots teams spanning various ages, genders, and backgrounds, with a primary focus on providing grassroots football to children. The club prioritizes the well-being of kids and parents, maintaining open lines of communication and treating concerns with the utmost seriousness. Led by approachable and dedicated individuals, the club's pathway begins with the Little Ivanhoes Club for ages 3-6, progressing to team participation at U7 level. Their commitment extends beyond the field, with effective communication in club meetings and diligent management behind the scenes. The club invests in coaches, covering expenses for courses and providing all necessary resources to nurture them into capable coaches. Offering unwavering support and guidance, they strive to fulfil any request, demonstrating a comprehensive dedication to their community.




Central Midlands Alliance Football League

The Central Midlands League merged with the Midlands Regional Alliance to make the Central Midlands Alliance League. They made a league with 92 teams in it and saved the MRA from ceasing to exist due to the people running it getting too old to continue their duties. The Central Midlands Alliance is an English football league covering the northeast-central part of England. Formed in 1971 as the South Derbyshire League, changing name initially to the Derbyshire League before changing to the Central Midlands League in 1983, it covers parts of Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire and Staffordshire. The league's current sponsor is Abacus Lighting. Upon merging with the Midland Regional Alliance in 2023, the current name was adopted. The league is Derbyshire’s largest affiliated adult league.



 How were the winners decided?

The winners were decided by a judging panel consisting of three members of Derbyshire FA staff and two previous Grassroots Football Award winners.

DCFA Judging Panel

  1. Jack Bell (Derbyshire FA Football Development Officer for disability football, facilities and pitches)
  2. Alison Smith (Derbyshire FA Football Operations Officer for affiliations, sanctions and memberships)
  3. Thomas Crabtree (Derbyshire FA Marketing & Communications Officer and Grassroots Football Awards lead)
  4. Claire Brandon (Representative of Derby Junior Football League, last seasons winners of League of the Year)
  5. Nick Rippon-Smith (Grassroots coach for Long Eaton United and Stanton Ilkeston, and last year’s winner of the Keeping Football Positive Award)


The Judging Panel came together at DCFA HQ and sifted through the nominations, each selecting their winners, before the group definitively decided on the award winners. With so many amazing nominations, deciding a winner for each category was no easy feat!


Derbyshire FA Grassroots Football Awards Ceremony

The winners will be invited to our Grassroots Football Awards Ceremony, where their successes and achievements will be celebrated. The date and venue of the ceremony are to be confirmed.