Patrick Akpoveta from Adamstown Football Club was last week honoured at the Aviva Stadium when the National Volunteers in Sport awards were presented at a special ceremony.
Akpoveta received the award for youth coach of the year in recognition of his work with the local football club, but as well as for his years of commitment to the youth development over the years since his first involvement in Special Olympics in 2003.
Akpoveta helped to start the Adamstown schools soccer side in 2011 and they have had a long tradition of success, with the Under-11 side winning their SDFL league in the 2011-12 season, and placing second alongside their Under-9 side in their 2012-13 league campaigns.
In addition, he has been involved in a range of sporting activities and coaching over the last decade. Akpoveta was involved in coaching basketball and soccer at schools and Special Olympics level in Ballyfermot and Inchicore before helping to set up the Lucan soccer team, and has seen it go from strength to strength.
Speaking to GazetteSport, he said: “The club has been growing bigger in recent years. We started with only 10 or 12 players, but now we cater for over 50.”
On receiving the honour, Patrick said it would push him to aim even higher in the development of Adamstown FC and its players: “I feel more motivated to keep on doing my work and trying to grow the club and get more people involved with it.”
Speaking at the awards ceremony Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring TD said: “The work of volunteers is the foundation on which sport in Ireland is built – without volunteers there would be no sport in Ireland. These awards allow us to honour some of the real heroes of Irish sport working behind the scenes. Volunteers are a vital part of every club and sporting organisation around the country and are doing wonderful work for sport in their communities.”
John Treacy, chief executive of the Irish Sports Council said “Volunteers play a vital role in sustaining the high level of sporting activity in Ireland with all the associated health and social benefits, and contribute significantly to the development of sport in Ireland.
“The commitment, dedication and leadership of Ireland’s sporting volunteers, allows athletes and communities to participate in sport all around the country.”
The Volunteers in Sport awards were presented by the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, the Irish Sports Council the Federation of Irish Sport and the Community Foundation of Ireland.