Horsham Football Club is immensely proud and delighted to announce that our U12s coach, Jamie Irving, has been voted Sussex’s Grassroots Youth Coach of the Year, as part of the FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards.
Like all our coaches, Jamie is a volunteer who puts everything into his role not for personal benefit but for the good of the local community and we agree that sort of commitment deserves rewarding, that’s why we were thrilled to learn of this award.
“It was a huge shock but probably my best achievement in football and I feeling extremely proud to have won it” Jamie admitted. “The FA asks parents, referees and players from U5s to U16s to put forward names for Coach of the Year and it was a complete surprise when I received an email, telling me that I’d not only been nominated but actually won the regional award.
“Horsham FC is the place in which all young players should aim to be, with fantastic facilities, supportive coaches across all age groups, a head of development that gets to know every player and second to none off-pitch support giving every player the best possible experience.”
Jamie is now in his second season with the Hornets, having taken on the coaching of last season’s U11s after moving to the area in 2015. A qualified outfield and goalkeeping coach, he has been coaching at various levels and age groups around London and West Sussex for over fifteen years. “I was coaching a group of ex-offenders in London, all aged between 16 and 30, and all came from troubled backgrounds” Jamie revealed.
“We got a team together, raised £6-7,000 to kit them out, and we became quite well established, regularly winning our league which enabled us to play in the FA Sunday Cup. It gave them a new focus and some of them have gone on to play at a decent grassroots level.”
On his involvement with Horsham, Jamie went on to say “It was a year or two after we moved down here that I approached the club and said that I’d love to help out, at any age group. I’ve done a bit with the U15s and U16s, as well as some stuff with Craig Brewster’s CB Pro Coaching, and I love it. For me, it’s all about setting up a safe environment in which the boys can develop in all aspects of football. Training is paramount to success, which is why I strongly believe that the effort you put into working hard on the training ground will only produce positive matches.
“Although the boys have been quite successful, it’s not just about the winning, it’s about enjoying themselves, enjoying their football, and developing as players. I’ve only been at Horsham a year but the boys are really gelling and are like a little family. They’re good friends, stay round each other’s houses, and we’ve had lots of social activities to keep them involved, especially during lockdown.”
A Sussex County FA spokesperson added “Jamie well and truly stood out from the crowd. He goes above and beyond for the children and their families. He has even purchased new coats for one or two of the children who couldn’t afford new ones in order for them not to be left out.”
Congratulations, Jamie, on this outstanding achievement.