Garforth Rangers Coach A Community Hero


Stephen Shippey, coach and welfare officer at Garforth Rangers Football Club is officially a Community Hero after being awarded the accolade at the 2015 Yorkshire Awards for his involvement in junior football at the club. Commenting on his award, Stephen said “I think this award not only recognises my dedication over the years but also shows an appreciation of others like me that give a huge amount of time so that youngsters can enjoy playing football.”
Back in 2002 Stephen took his daughter Emma to her first training session at the club, and has never looked back – coaching at least one team every season since. He has coached both girls and boys, and also the mixed junior teams too. Wanting other girls to enjoy football as much as his daughter, and to ensure there is the opportunity to do so, Stephen became the Girls Development Officer at Garforth Rangers. This role has involved visiting schools in Leeds to run football taster sessions and delivering leaflets to promote the opportunities for girls within the sport. He is also the club welfare officer, making sure volunteers have the appropriate training and qualifications to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for almost 400 children every year.
Stephen also teamed up with the County FA for their ‘Join My Team’ initiative which is to encourage children of all ages and ability to join a team and enjoy playing football together.
Thanks to Stephen’s dedication and enthusiasm, there are now five different girl’s teams at the club, plus girls playing in the mixed U6’s ‘development squad’ where children learn the basics of football such as working together as a team, and simple ball control. It’s testament to the character of Steve that he manages all this as well as a full time job!
The 2015-16 season is half way through, but Stephen explained that results are not published for children’s teams until they reach U12 and above.
He said “I insist that children are always only given positive encouragement in a way that does not pressurise them or reduce their enjoyment of playing football. I want them to finish a match with a smile on their face knowing they have tried their best and enjoyed playing with friends and teammates whatever the result was. Results are often soon forgotten but good experiences aren’t and I would like them to be able to say I enjoyed playing football when Steve was our coach. There have also been many times when a parent has said their child was initially nervous and hesitant but following the way they have been treated it is the best thing that has happened to them.”
Stephen has plans to further develop the club in 2016. Once he has seen all teams through the current league, he will be going into schools to do workshops and give out leaflets. The summer will see the usual football galas take place and August will be the time when training begins for newcomers for the start of the 2016-17 season in September. He already has enough girls interested to start a new U11’s team next season.
Garforth Rangers are extremely lucky to have Stephen at the club, and he is clearly well deserving of the Local Hero Award. They are hoping to enter girl’s teams in all age groups next season from Under 8 to Under 16, and will be contacting schools in LS25/LS15 and surrounding areas with details of how to get involved. Please contact the club via their website if any girls you know are interested in playing football with other girls –

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