Junior football club wins award for coach and referee training scheme

Terry Burke, Tigers Junior FC committee member, and Keith Di Palma, club chairman.

Terry Burke, Tigers Junior FC committee member, and Keith Di Palma, club chairman. - Credit: Keith Di Palma

A Hornchurch football club has been recognised for its contribution to sport. 

Tigers Junior Football Club won the Enhancing the Workforce Award at the London Sport Awards 2021, sponsored by the City of London Corporation, for its Tigers Futures programme. 

The programme, launched seven years ago, gives players at the club who are 14 and older the opportunity to get onto refereeing and coaching courses. 

Keith and Lisa Di Palma

Keith and Lisa Di Palma have run Tigers Junior Football Club for the past 23 years - Credit: Keith Di Palma

Longstanding Tigers Junior FC committee members Robin Naish and Terry Burke.

Longstanding Tigers Junior FC committee members Robin Naish and Terry Burke. - Credit: Keith Di Palma

Trainees on the scheme – currently numbering 25 – help with the younger children before moving onto more senior levels of the club later on, to get "experience and confidence".

Club chairman Keith Di Palma, who attended the event at the Guildhall on December 6, said it had been a “shock” to win. 

He told the Recorder his wife, club secretary Lisa, who had been videoing, dropped her phone when they were announced. 

Tigers Futures

Members of the Tiger Futures programme, which won an award at the London Sport Awards 2021. - Credit: Keith Di Palma

Keith, who works for Ford Motor Company and volunteers for Tigers in his spare time, said the event was a “top night” and “from the minute we walked in, everybody was made to be special”.