After a fantastic season it was extremely hard to choose just one person to be presented with the Owen Defreitas Award, however after speaking to Ryan’s Coach Phil Broom it was quite clear to see why Ryan should be recognised by the league this season. Phil had this to say about Ryan:
Ryan is a pleasure to coach and his attitude towards football is incredible. For him, winning is not important – Ryan is simply determined to develop as a player and as a person.
He is 100 per cent committed to the team and the league, has rarely misses a training session and or AITC Fixture at the Sussex Disability League games over the past few seasons. He is constantly smiling and upbeat whether in victory or defeat and is a hugely-positive impact on his teammates and coaches.
Ryan epitomises everything that is positive about not only AITC Eastbourne and the Sussex Disability Football League but also disability sport in general. He is a superb role model, acts as a mentor to his teammates, and is often an inspiration to his coaches. His love of the game knows no limits and Ryan would be a worthy winner of this award.
I asked his mum, Leanne, to say a few words about the impact being part of AITC has had on Ryan. She replied: “Ryan has now been attending Albion in the Community sessions for three years with the team in Eastbourne. Ryan was a challenge when he first joined because he had not played football before or any other team sport.
“Football has changed Ryan. He is more confident and enthusiastic in all areas of his life now. It has helped him grown as a person.
“Ryan just smiles the whole time – whether it be training in the rain to playing in the sun, win lose or draw he smiles. He enjoys the camaraderie between his teammates and group sessions away from the team where he meets players from other teams and makes friends.
“This year Ryan has tried hard to improve as a player. Yes, the pass may not always work, or he may not score a goal but boy does he try and enjoy the game. He comes off the pitch or training ground smiling and knowing that he has tried and there has been some improvement.
“The Sussex Disability Football League has given Ryan friends, skills in both life and football and the sense that if he tries hard enough he can achieve something.
“We as a family would like to thank the league, Albion in the Community and Phil his coach for giving Ryan this chance but also to them all for giving that chance and opportunity to all the other teams and players in the league.”
Well done Ryan from all at the Sussex Disability League, we are proud to award you this honour and proud to have you as part of our league. Congratulations.