A Selsey-based football coach has scooped a prestigious prize at the Sussex Sports Awards.
Matthew Weller, 17, has been named the Young Coach of the Year because of his commitment and success in his role coaching at Selsey FC and the club’s youth Seals section.
He was presented with the University of Chichester-sponsored prize at the award ceremony at The Grand Hotel in Brighton.
It was a proud night all round for the football club, who themselves only just missed out on being named club of the year. Weller was also shortlisted for a second award.
Weller has worked with the prestigious Fulham Foundation this year as he looks to broaden his coaching horizons and has been a part of a backroom team that has seen Selsey’s first team reach impressive heights this season in the top flight of the Sussex League.
He was delighted to win the award and said: “It was a brilliant experience for me. The whole event was fantastic and I was given the award by the one of the top people at Chichester University - it was really overwhelming.”
The accolade is given for outstanding achievement in coaching but also considers the dedication of the candidates in terms of the hours they give up and their respective success with their teams.
Weller has been coaching since the age of 14 and has undertaken voluntary work with the thriving Selsey Seals for the past three years, helping the manager in coaching the under-nines.
In July last year, he completed the FA level-one coaching course and since then he has now become more involved with using his experience at the course to help other age groups.
The Sussex Sports Awards, now in their 11th year and hosted by Active Sussex, were handed out at a ceremony hosted by BBC Sussex presenter Danny Pike.
This year Olympic badminton silver medallist Gail Emms provided the guests with inspirational tales of her journey to sporting success.
Sadie Mason, Active Sussex chief executive, congratulated Weller and all those who won awards or were shortlisted.
She said: “I would like to congratulate our winners and nominees on their wonderful achievements made this year. The awards ceremony rewards quality, achievement, determination and commitment to those involved in sport across the county.
“Hearing their stories was truly inspirational and they are a credit to their sports. I hope that the winners, and of course all of those shortlisted, use this as a platform to push-on and strike gold in their next competition.”
Weller now wants to build on his success and hopes to one day work with some of the world’s best.
He said: “In the future I want to be working with academies because seeing the players develop is a fantastic feeling.
“I definitely want to be working with elite players one day because I think working with players like that would really help develop my skills as a coach.”
by JAMES ROBINSON