FORMER Wales and Liverpool superstar Ian Rush visited a Wrexham village to launch a community awards scheme.
Rush, who had a spell at Wrexham FC towards the end of his career, paid a visit to Alyn Waters Country Park in Llay on Saturday morning for a kick about, much to the delight of youngsters at Llay United Football Club.
He was there to celebrate the launch of the 2013 FAW Community Awards, presented by McDonald’s.
Llay United’s pitches were selected as the venue for the launch after they won the 2011 FAW and McDonald’s Club of the Year.
And last year saw their founder member Brian Johnson being awarded the North Wales Lifetime Achievement award for his commitment to football in Llay and North Wales over 30 years
The club was founded more than 20 years ago and currently runs 16 teams supporting more than 200 playing members each week.
Rush said: “Llay United FC is a fantastic club, it has a great atmosphere and it is obvious the people here are dedicated to providing top quality coaching for anyone who would like to get involved in the game.
“I didn’t realise how they were struggling in 2005 so to see where they are now is great for the community.
“For more than 30 years the club has provided football to the young people of Llay and boasts the likes of Welsh international Robbie Savage having started his career with them, a true testament of the success of the club.
“It’s been fantastic to come and meet everyone involved at Llay United and to see all their hard work in practice. I wish them all the very best for the rest of the season and in this year’s awards.”
The 2013 FAW Community Awards are now open for nominations and Ian Rush, who is McDonald’s head of Welsh Football, is urging communities to nominate their grassroots heroes for one of the 10 award categories.
The awards recognise and celebrate those coaches, volunteers, clubs and leagues, across Wales who dedicate their time to grassroots football in their local community.
Rush said: “Without the energy, enthusiasm and continued dedication of these unsung heroes, grassroots football in so many communities would not exist.
“Everyone starts at grassroots level, it’s where I learned the basic skills and without the commitment from coaches and volunteers I wouldn’t have had a stepping stone into the professional game.
“It is fantastic McDonald’s and the FAW recognise those who provide football to thousands across the country and I urge you to nominate your local grassroots hero now.”To vote for a football coach, club or volunteer go to www. welshfootballtrust.org.uk