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Royal appointment for grassroots hero

PROUD: Troy Townsend

TROY TOWNSEND, Kick It Out’s Mentoring and Leadership Project Manager, has been recognised as one of The Football Association’s (The FA) 150 grassroots heroes. He will receive a medal from HRH The Duke of Cambridge and The FA President, Prince William, at Buckingham Palace on October 7.

The ceremony, which will reward volunteers nominated for their outstanding contribution and service to football, forms a key part of The FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations. This covers everything from helping to develop the women’s game, providing opportunities for disabled players, grassroots referees as well as club and league administrators.

Townsend has dedicated much of his life to working at grassroots level and continues to run the S&T academy, a player development centre based in east London, to unearth the next generation of talented footballers. Several of his players have recently signed for Premier League and Football League academies.

“I feel so proud to have been recognised in this way,” the former non league coach, who previously managed Cheshunt and the now defunct Leyton, commented.

“There are many people who work, often for free, for the love of the game and for me to be included as one of the 150 grassroots heroes is incredibly humbling.

“Grassroots football is a real passion of mine. I have had the pleasure of coaching a number of players who have gone onto make a career in the professional game and at non league level. There’s nothing better than playing an active role in the development of a young footballer and then seeing them go onto achieve great things.”

Townsend, who also held coaching roles with clubs including Boreham Wood, Potters Bar Town, Slough Town and Dover Athletic, has led a number of key projects since joining Kick It Out in September 2011.

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