Skip to content

Physical Education student wins regional FA award for her work in youth football

A University of Gloucestershire student who has been inspired by the achievements of the Lionesses, has won a regional FA award for her commitment to providing opportunities for girls and boys to play football.

Beth Cottle, who is working towards a degree in Physical Education and Coaching, was presented with the 2023 Young Volunteer of the Year Award from the Somerset County FA at their annual awards ceremony.

Alongside her academic studies at the University, Beth delivers training and coaching sessions to girls and boys at Uphill Juniors FC, based in her home town of Weston-super-Mare.

Beth said: “I am absolutely thrilled to have won the 2023 Young Volunteer of the Year Award from the Somerset County FA. I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had been nominated, so to win the award is very special.

“While it’s never been my aim to win awards for the work that I do – I do it because I love it and want to make a difference – it’s certainly been a boost to my confidence that people are pleased with the training and coaching sessions that I’ve delivered.

“I am particularly keen on breaking down barriers and making football more accessible to girls who want to get involved in the sport because they’ve been encouraged by the success of the England women’s team.

“Having been inspired by the Lionesses myself, it’s been my mission to get participation levels up through speaking to parents about the opportunities available for girls and being a friendly face at training so everyone with a positive experience.”

Beth added: “I have been interested in football since the age of 11, and that enthusiasm for the sport has continued to grow while I’ve been at University of Gloucestershire.

“Alongside my academic learning at the University, I believe the excellent hands-on experience that I’m gaining with Uphill Juniors, which is such a great club, will support my ambitions to become an PE teacher.

“Working closely with different age groups and a variety of people has certainly improved my confidence and my social skills.”

Next generation of football stars

The University is developing the next generation of England football stars as an FA Women’s High Performance Football Centre, while former England footballer turned TV pundit, Karen Carney MBE, received an honorary award at its 2023 Graduation Ceremony.

Dr Rachael Bullingham, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise, said: “Beth is a proactive and passionate first-year Physical Education student. “She has only been at the University for a few months but has already engaged in lots of opportunities as well as trying out sports for the first time.

“She is an asset to the course and the University, and we look forward to seeing her develop over the three years of the course.”

Image: Beth Cottle receiving her award from the Somerset County FA