Mansfield Town defender Ryan Sweeney named as the PFA Community Champion
The PFA Community Champion award recognises the efforts of players, who over the course of the season, go the extra mile to attend activities run by community schemes, get involved and really help to make a difference within the Community.
The 23-Year-Old defender was voted for by Mansfield’s Football in the Community staff after showing real enthusiasm towards their projects throughout the season.
Projects included giving time to help tackle anti-social behaviour issues through the PL Kicks Project, and putting himself under the spotlight during half-term activities – helping youngsters to develop their interview and communication skills.
Gary Shaw, Community Manager, said: “Ryan has been a delight to work with this season and fully deserves the PFA Community Champion award.
“Since his arrival at the club he’s shown a real interest in the work we do as a community department and last season [2019/20] in particular, has gone above and beyond to connect with young supporters and support our projects.
“I know on the pitch he’s had the opportunity captain the side and those leadership skills certainly transfer off of the pitch – he’s a real inspiration for youngsters and that’s been evident in the sessions he’s attended.”
The former Stoke City youngster joins the likes of Alistair Smith, Paul Anderson, Rhys Bennett and Jamie McGuire in receiving the award in recent seasons.
“It’s been brilliant to come down and see the work Football in the Community do over the course of the season, there’s a really good variety to the things on offer for young people which really shows the hard work the Community team do,” Said Sweeney.
Along with his work attending session, the commanding defender also took on a role behind the scenes to help strengthen the players’ relationship with the Community.
He added “When the gaffer [Graham Coughlan] came in it’s something he wanted to do straight away, get the players more engaged with the fans and community, that’s what makes Football Clubs stronger – Community [schemes] like Mansfield.
“I really enjoyed the role in getting the players more involved with the Community and seeing what’s out there, it was a bit of an eye opener for me and one I really enjoyed.”