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Congratulations Coach Ace!

We are proud to announce Coach Ace (Allana Francis-Ashmeil) is recipient of this year Football Black List – Ugo Ehiogu Ones To Watch Award. 

The Football Black List shines a light on those who are inspiring the next generation to consider other roles in the sport. Household names and highly respected people from the industry including – Rio Ferdinand, Dame Heather Rabbatts CBE, Yaya Toure, Hope Powell CBE, Lord Ouseley and Rachel Yankey OBE – have all featured on the list. They have been highlighted for their efforts away from the pitch, not their achievements on it. The initiative, which has been supported by The FA, Premier League, Professional Footballers Association and Kick It Out, also provides an opportunity to reflect on how diverse the football industry is, discuss the under representation of people from African and Caribbean backgrounds – and, most importantly, how to address this issue.Vitally, the Football Black List also pays tribute to individuals making a difference within the community and at the grassroots level of the game.

Nominations for the Ones To Watch Award opened earlier on this year. After many nominations a list of 30 individuals made the list. This 30 was then further shortlisted to 10 highly commended individuals chosen by the family of the late Aston Villa Player Ugo Ehiogu. Coach Ace was one of those 10 and on Thursday night (1st November) she was in Shoreditch to receive her award in front of some of the football industry biggest names. 

‘I want to first thank all my family, friends, colleagues, players and their families for nominating me. I am truly touched to receive such as special award especially after being chosen by Ugo’s family and meeting them at the awards. He was a fantastic player and a remarkable role model for coaches such as myself. I was in awe Thursday night, being in the room with some of the best. I was even able to meet my favourite female player of all time Alex Scott! (definitely the icing on the cake for me). ACE Development Academy means more to me than people realise. Winning this award has inspired me even more to ensure it continues to grow and go in the right direction. I want my girls to realise that they can accomplish anything they put their minds to and I hope winning this award sets an example of that’  – Coach Ace