Verge Loves: The FA Respect Awards

 

COACHAhmadou Seye, Jolof Sports, Amateur Football Alliance

Founder of Jolof Sports Club in 2012, Ahmadou Seye’s biggest passion is playing and teaching football to all generations. He believes that sport, and football in particular, can bring communities together, develop confidence in children and keep everybody healthy and fit.

Ahmadou is very humble and positive, and he transmits the values of the beautiful game to players; winning through hard-work, skill development and fair play. He dedicates his work and achievements to his late father, who has always been his inspiration.

Last season was very successful for the Jolof men’s team, which is managed and captained by Ahmadou. They became champions of Essex Alliance League Premier Division as well as runners-up of the Premier Division Cup.

The under-9s and under-12s have won the Magic International Tournament, while the under-9s were also unbeaten for the second year in a row in the Camden and Regents Park League. Ahmadou has also started a non-profit organisation, JSFC, where kids in the London community with no financial budget can still be given an opportunity to play football. His passion has no borders, and in Senegal his charity project continues that gives street children an opportunity to play football, as well as other sports activities, with the aim of developing skills to help them in the future.PLAYER

 

Leia Rudge, Colchester Town Ladies, Essex FA

Colchester Town Ladies under-16 captain Leia Rudge joined the Eastern Region Women’s League outfit at the age of seven and has played throughout all their age groups. She is someone who all her teammates look up to for advice and guidance.

Leia has worn the armband for the past three years, leading by example, and has not missed a training session or match during her time as skipper. She is constantly reassuring and encouraging the other girls on her team.

“Leia has played a key part in helping me implement our guidelines of Respect,” said team manager Hannah Bingham, who put forward her captain for nomination for the award.

“Watching the girls on our team is evidence enough of the impact Leia’s attitude has had on the team. The respect shown by all girls to one another, and the sense of camaraderie that has developed, has stemmed from Leia’s positive influence on her teammates. She turns up an hour early to every game to help me set up the goals and line the pitch. Her calm demeanour, along with strong leadership on and off the pitch, has made managing our team that much better.” 

 

Jawahir Roble, Football Beyond Borders, Middlesex FA

Jawahir, or JJ for short, is a 23-year-old Muslim referee, a Youth Leader with Middlesex FA and a volunteer with football charity ‘Kick It Out’.

She was nominated for the Respect Match Official award by Tom Perez from the football education charity ‘Football Beyond Borders’, who she also gives up her free time for.

He underlines why she has won this award. “JJ commands respect from everyone because she treats everyone fairly, with respect and dignity, and she generally has a smile on her face. She is inspiring women and young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become coaches, referees and players. There is not enough female or BAME role models who get the respect that they deserve. JJ has been a volunteer with Football Beyond Borders for many years, setting up our first community programme for women, but also recently volunteering to referee our biggest ever showcase match at the FBB Community Cup at Dulwich Hamlet.”

Jawahir added: “Refereeing isn’t easy, but when you do it well you get respect. You need to earn the respect, definitely. When I’d turn up at games they’d all raise an eyebrow. Of course, they’re surprised to see a Muslim girl refereeing, but I take charge, I show them what I’m about, I just say ‘listen, I love this game as much as you do, you respect me and I’ll respect you, let’s do this!'”