The beautiful game is thriving with Shropshire Junior Football League
Youth football across Shropshire is going from strength to strength, according to the chief of the county’s junior league.
Mike Hames, chairman of the Shropshire Junior Football League, outlined the success of the organisation over the past 12 months following a successful presentation evening held at Shrewsbury’s Greenhous Meadow Stadium.
The league aims to give all youngsters in the county a safe place to play football while also teaching them skills that will help them in every day life and into adulthood.
Over the past year the organisation has arranged a host of football festivals and cups that have led to thousands of youngsters playing the beautiful game.
They included a Futsal Respect Festival for youngsters aged between seven and 10 which attracted 70 teams and 700 players.
It also administered a host of charity cup competitions which raised more than £2,700 for local causes, taking the total amount the league has raised this millennium to £27,000.
“The aim of the Shropshire Junior Football League is to give youngsters a safe place to play football while also teaching them important skills for every day life,” Hames said. “Alongside football it’s about teaching respect and giving these young people the opportunity to be successful in life. We want them to be able to behave both on the field and in every day life.
“Our motto states ‘ability is nothing without opportunity.’
“And we have had a very successful year as our awards evening at Shrewsbury showed.
“We got the chance to recognise the players, the managers, the volunteers who all work so hard to make the league successful.
“It was a great evening and now we are all looking forward to the new season.”
One of the events organised by the league in the past year saw more than 100 players turn out for a Kick Racism Out of Football futsal event.
The competition was sponsored by the Georgia Williams Trust, Shropshire FA Youth Council and Sportsjam.
And its success was recognised by the FA with the scheme earning the Shropshire Junior League the runners-up gong in the FA Inclusion Project 2017.
The league also celebrated a number of other awards handed out by the FA in recognition of its achievements throughout the 2016/17 season.
Remarkably, they landed the FA (Shropshire) Charter Standard League of the year 2017 for the seventh consecutive season.
They also won the Regional FA (Midlands) Charter Standard League of the year 2017 for the third time since 2010.
Specific club and individual awards were then presented to more than 50 winners.
Shrewsbury Juniors claimed the Futsal Respect winners (sponsored by Sportsjam) at under-9s. Shawbury United were the winners at under-10s.
Gobowen Youth under-14s won the Georgia Williams Trust Respect gong for a third consecutive year.
SJFL’s Club of The Year went to Llanymynech Juniors. They were noted for continuing their support and delivery of all aspects of youth development that promotes excellence, respect and opportunities for young people to play and enjoy football. The club runs teams for all age groups from under-8 to under-16s.
Up & Comers FC cheered the success of two club individuals. Nicky Powell claimed Secretary of The Year, recognising the hard work, dedication and commitment involved in running and administrating a junior football club with more than 20 teams from crèche to under-18s.
The club’s Simon Lee then won the inaugural Tom Farmer Volunteer of The Year. The award was gifted to the SJFL by the family of the late Tom Farmer (former chairman and president of Shropshire FA and national FA delegate for the county).
Farmer was a great supporter and advocate of youth football who regularly attended SJFL finals and festivals. Lee was recognised for his outstanding service to community football. Under his chairmanship at Up & Comers he has brought excellence in delivering grassroots football opportunities for boys and girls from crèche, Saturday clubs up to under-18 age groups.