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27 Nov 2023 516

Legendary Football Coach to Receive UK Coaching Lifetime Achievement Award

The career of a renowned football coach will be celebrated at this year's UK Coaching Awards.

The FA’s Peter Sturgess is poised to be honoured with the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award at the upcoming ceremony on 5th December. This recognition underscores Sturgess's steadfast commitment to the sport and his substantial impact on moulding the foundational learning phase for young players.

A colleague at the FA aptly encapsulates Sturgess's influence, stating: “Pete’s legacy and his role in developing football in England can never be quantified and will never be forgotten.”

The Lifetime Achievement Award, an integral part of the UK Coaching Awards, stands as a tribute to coaches who consistently exceed expectations in positively shaping the experiences of individuals involved in sport and physical activity. These exceptional coaches offer integral support to their participants, addressing both physical and mental aspects, across various levels from grassroots to elite competitions. 

Sturgess worked at the FA as Technical Lead for the 5–11s age group (Foundation Phase), and today continues to influence the technical and tactical proficiency of the next generation as a FIFA Futsal Instructor. His dedication to supporting young players, and his child-centred approach to coaching, positioned him as a key contributor to England Football's DNA during the tenure of then Technical Director Dan Ashworth.

This DNA, focused on player development, emerged as a central aspect in the FA's reformation of the approach to major tournaments and broader talent identification. Today, it stands as the cornerstone of the success enjoyed by internationally acclaimed teams. 

Peter himself reflects on his extensive work as a children’s coach with the FA, describing it as "the perfect platform, where I knew I couldn’t let the children down."

Reflecting on his award win, Peter said: 

To be recognised in this way is such an honour. My family and friends will be so proud of what we have achieved together, as I couldn’t have committed myself in the way I have without their unwavering support and understanding.

"Throughout my coaching career I have been motivated and driven to improve the coaching of children and young people at the start of our pathway, and to try and influence the opportunities available to them because of the enormous benefits it brings. 

Working with a younger age group for many coaches is seen as a starting point from which to step into 'proper coaching' with older players or adults. For me, working alongside children and young people was always the end point – I just had to get better at it because it was the most important job I could ever do. 

“Whether they went on to play professionally or not, my role was to ensure that the children I coached fell in love with sport, playing football and being active because of the incredibly safe and supportive environment that surrounded them. 

“There can be no greater reward than to influence the lives of our young children in this way, but to achieve this we need committed and dedicated people at each point in the young person's journey through sport. The most important thing to me as a coach is showing how, by creating the right environment, we can work alongside children to realise their true potential (wherever this takes them). It is a recognition of them as children who just happen to have chosen to try football, so developing them as people must come first.

The personal qualities of kindness, empathy, patience and understanding alongside all the ‘football stuff’ is the magic that makes everything work better.” 

UK Coaching’s CEO Mark Gannon praised Peter and each of the exceptional finalists – with the winners to be revealed at the ceremony on 5th December – reflecting on the huge variety of coaching talent for this year’s awards: 

“I would like to extend a huge congratulations to Peter on his fantastic work over many years as an outstanding coach. 

His impact has been clear. In encouraging players and colleagues to challenge themselves, supporting great experiences for children and young people, he has contributed hugely to the concept of holistic coaching at the Football Association. 

“One of our key priorities in being there for every coach is supporting them to give children and young people amazing first experiences in sport and physical activity. Coaching is very much a formative experience for young people, and it’s down to the incredible dedication of Peter and others like him that children will want to stay active. 

“We are very much looking forward to celebrating together at our UK Coaching Awards ceremony, bringing together the coaches that are going above and beyond to deliver outstanding experiences and make a real difference in their community.” 

The awards will be held on 5th December at the Queens Hotel in Leeds.

Find out more about this year’s finalists and the awards by heading to the UK Coahcing Awards page

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