Susan Albrighton, a coach and referee from Birmingham, has been announced as the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner for February 2022 for her incredible commitment to grassroots girls’ and women’s football.
Susan has been encouraging young females into football for 15 years and in that time has introduced hundreds of new participants to the game as players or referees.
The Nationwide Mutual Respect Award, as part of The England Football Respect Campaign, aims to help make grassroots football more respectful and positive.
The Nationwide monthly award - which was introduced just last year - recognises outstanding contributions, achievements and behaviour in grassroots football across the country by young players, coaches, teams, parents and referees.
Susan receives a trophy, the accolade of being the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award winner and also wins tickets to a forthcoming England game.
Susan said: "It’s overwhelming to be nominated and to win the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award.
"It has been my great privilege introduce women and girls in our community to our national game and to show them respect for themselves and each other.
"This award really belongs to the incredible people who have trailblazed before me and raised the bar to provide even more opportunities for females in this sport. I've worn many hats in the world of grassroots football over the years - player, coach, manager and now referee.
“I'm passionate that this sport should be respectful, inclusive and ultimately is a safe place for everyone to come together and enjoy what the game has to offer. This can only be done with the vital help of volunteers - and I'm privileged to say that I was one of them.
“In my role as an official, I'm trying to give back by stepping onto that pitch and doing my absolute best to be a great referee - advocating fair play and respect from within the game. There is no better feeling than blowing that final whistle and seeing mutual respect for all; the players shake hands knowing we've had a fair result; no injuries and compassion for any mistakes I've made. That is a good day in my office.
“We also really need more people to take up the whistle and I can wholeheartedly say that there has never been better opportunities to progress in the game than right now. With the new TV rights package of support for women’s football and more games being broadcast, the ability to progress to the top of the game is incredibly achievable. The support and investment by our governing bodies has never been better.”
The recommendation from Susan’s community for the Nationwide Mutual Respect Award said: “Susan has been involved in women’s football for as long as I’ve known her. She’s an inspirational person and someone who has really encouraged and motivated me, along with many others, to be a part of grassroots football and also women’s football.
“Susan stepped in to help my ladies team when we were short of a coach, she developed players, supported them and gave me unbelievable determination to champion girls and women’s football. I now manage an u11 girls’ team and run a ladies open age team – this is all down to Susan’s encouragement.
“Her enthusiasm is contagious, I wouldn’t be this involved in grass roots football if it weren’t for her guiding me. We need more Susan’s in women’s football, that’s for sure.”
If you know someone you would like to nominate for the monthly Nationwide Mutual Respect Award, please follow the link below:
# You can nominate your child, their referees, officials, a parent helper or a club. You can make one nomination per month.
# Nominations close at 11.59 pm on the 21st of each month.
# We'll use the contact details provided to contact you if your nomination wins.
Nationwide’s target is to engage with one million parents and coaches in The England Football Respect Campaign as a part of their three-year partnership.