LOCAL LONDON VOLUNTEERS COLLECT NATIONAL GRASSROOTS FOOTBALL AWARD AT WEMBLEY
On Sunday 4th August, local volunteers, Asha Mohamud and Ali Zaman attended the 2019 FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards’ national ceremony, held at the home of football, Wembley Stadium connected by EE, to collect their award after being named winner of the prestigious Rising Star of the Year award.
The FA & McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards recognise and celebrate the tireless volunteers who dedicate so much time to the grassroots game. The awards are now in their tenth year and Asha and Ali join a long list of inspirational grassroots football heroes who marched down Wembley way to collect their coveted awards.
Asha Mohamud and Ali Zaman are university students from West Ealing. Despite studying, working part-time jobs and looking after siblings, they have found the time to create Really Real, a coaching initiative to provide free football activities for children from the estate where they grew up.
As with many football initiatives like Really Real, that make such a different to their local community, coaching is only part of the story. Asha and Ali volunteer and fundraise to provide transport, food, water and equipment for the children who attend. This inspiring pair are fighting to make a difference to the lives of others through football, they rightly have been named as the Rising Stars of the Year.
Asha and Ali accepted their award from football legend Gareth Barry ahead of The FA Community Shield, supported by McDonald’s, which saw Premier League and Emirates FA Cup champions Manchester City defeat Champions League winners Liverpool. During the half time break, Asha and Ali joined World Cup hat-trick hero Sir Geoff Hurst on the pitch in front of 77,000 fans.
“I have been involved with the Grassroots Awards since the beginning and the stories of the winners never fail to impress me. Asha and Ali should be extremely proud of their work and grassroots football in West Ealing is a much better place with Asha and Ali as part of it,” said McDonald’s ambassador Sir Geoff Hurst. “The English game is in a very good place at the moment with The Three Lions boasting a number of young and talented players while the Lionesses have enjoyed a superb World Cup in France. Our national teams simply wouldn’t be in this place without the hard work of our grassroots volunteers – every player has to start somewhere. It was a pleasure to meet Asha and Ali and I hope they continue their extraordinary commitment to football for many years to come.”
Local McDonald’s franchisee Atul Pathak, who is an avid supporter of grassroots football in London, said: “It’s an honour to recognise Asha and Ali and the amazing work they do in the grassroots community. Their commitment to providing a safe and welcoming environment for children from their estate to play football is inspiring. I’ve been supporting grassroots football in London for many years, and stories like Asha and Ali’s really highlights the difference people like them make in the local community.”
Having worked with The FA over the past 17 years, McDonald’s is the longest-standing supporter of grassroots football in the UK. Through this partnership, McDonald’s continues to champion the tireless volunteers who dedicate countless hours to provide enjoyable football to children and young adults regardless of age, gender or disability.
In addition to championing volunteers, McDonald’s has committed to providing over 5 million hours of fun football to 5-11 year olds and giving 500,000 children the chance to play football for the first time by 2022 through Fun Football Centres and other initiatives across the UK.
For further information on how to get involved in McDonald’s Fun Football initiative visit www.mcdonalds.co.uk/funfootball
To find out more about all of the 2019 FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Award winners, visit //www.thefa.com/get-involved/grassroots-football-awards/winners