Football Development Officer wins award for promoting women’s game

  • Date

    Tue 23 Jul 19

With the global football family still basking in the success of the recent Women’s World Cup, a University of Essex staff member’s work in female football development has been recognised with a national award.

Sarah Dooley won the Outstanding Contribution award at the British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS) Football and Futsal Awards 2019.

Sarah, who only joined the Essex Sports Centre team in November, but has already made a significant impact, engaging more female coaches, referees and volunteers than ever before. 

Working with a range of other organisations, she has helped deliver significant growth in futsal, engaging over 900 children - over 50% of them female - through primary school festivals, after-school clubs and tournaments.

Sarah Dooley said: “It is very humbling to be recognised in this way. This award is testament to all the hard work that goes on behind the scenes, from a vast array of people, which enables us to deliver a wide range of opportunities for students, staff and the local community to not only play football and futsal regularly but complete FA coaching and refereeing qualifications and gain invaluable volunteering experience.

“It’s been fantastic this year to see increased female engagement, helping The Football Association reach its ambitious target to double female participation. Looking ahead, we’re planning more of the same, just bigger and better!”

The Outstanding Contribution Award recognises an individual who “clearly goes ’above and beyond’ the expectations of their role on a regular basis… (and) whose work has improved the football and futsal pathway at their institution or to the local community. “

Shaun Conlon, University of Essex Sports Development Manager, said: “Sarah is an outstanding leader and exemplary female role model who has made a significant impact upon football and futsal participation since she started in November. She has raised aspirations of the female club, inspired more students to take up football, nurtured new partnerships and created new opportunities that engage the local community.”

2019 is BUCS centenary year. Sarah received her award during the BUCS Football and Futsal Conference 2019, held at the King Power Stadium, Leicester, on 26 June.

University of Essex has recently joined the BUCS Women’s Football and Futsal Specialist Hub Network, one of only 17 organisations enjoying membership.

Over the past 6 years, The Football Association has partnered with BUCS to invest in football and futsal in Higher Education. This funding has encouraged partnership working between universities and clubs, promoted increased use of the facilities available at universities and sought to inspire participation at all levels of the game, to enlarge the talent available to local clubs and leagues.