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Chad Roberts, who is studying for a BA Sport Development and Coaching degree at the University’s Warrington Campus, won the FA and McDonald’s Grassroots Match Official of the Year 2019 award.

The award was presented during half-time at the Community Shield match – between Premier League and FA Cup winners Manchester City and European Champions Liverpool – at the national stadium on August 4.

Chad, from Birmingham, said: “Winning this award from the FA is great – it was an amazing feeling standing on the pitch at Wembley during such an important match.”

Chad, 19, has been refereeing for three years, travelling the length and breadth of the country most weekends and he is a man with a plan – after starting at Level 7, he’s currently a Level 5 official and hopes one day to reach Level 1.

He explained: “I’m just about to start my second year of study at the University, and I hope that by the time I finish my three-year course, I will have earned my Level 4. Then I hope to study for a Masters degree and simultaneously take my Level 3 refereeing qualification.”

The FA and MacDonald’s Grassroots Football Awards celebrate people who make a positive difference, week-in-week-out, on football pitches across England. The winners are selected from a shortlist of local winners, who are chosen by county FAs. Chad was nominated by the Birmingham FA.

Chad’s official operational zones are the Midlands and the North West. He regularly officiates in the Stourbridge and District Youth Football League, as well as at games as far North as Carlisle and he recently officiated at an international tournament in Barcelona, in Spain.

“I do put in the miles and I love it,” he said. “Amazing opportunities come my way, although it’s time-consuming and quite expensive, too. We have to pay most of our own expenses for equipment, as well as buy new kit and boots every year.”

“I know that completing my education is important because I want to eventually get a job in sport, where I can hopefully get involved in new incentives and initiatives that will help increase sports participation.”

Chad prides himself on going above and beyond his duties as a referee. He takes every opportunity to ensure the level of refereeing stays as high as possible, giving guidance not only to parents running the line, but also to others considering becoming a match official.

Paul Humphries, Programme Leader BA Sport Development and Coaching, said: “At the University of Chester we actively encourage and support student’s extra-curricular activities. 

“We recognise the benefits of students engaging with the local community, particularly at a grassroots level, as this is vitally important for their development, allowing learning from their studies to be applied in a real-sport setting. 

“What Chad has achieved in his own time is fantastic and we wish him continued success.”

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