Two Watford footballers have been given special awards for their work with the local community.
Men’s team goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann and outgoing women’s team captain Helen Ward have been given Professional Footballers’ Association (PFA) Community Champion Awards by the team’s Community Sports and Education Trust.
The awards were presented in recognition of their support to the community during the 2022/23 season.
Austrian international Bachmann has been actively supporting the trust since the beginning of his Watford FC career. In the 2022/23 season, he met with youngsters at holiday courses, in football tournaments, in a reading session at a local primary school, and paid a visit to SEN school Garston Manor.
The Shot-stopper also gave personalised training ground tours to pupils who won a Christmas card competition, as well as attending at the Trust’s Gala Dinner in March 2023. On top of his appearances through the trust, Bachmann supported initiatives such as the Junior Hornets open day and Puttshack event, as well as bringing gifts to children at Watford General Hospital as part of the club’s annual Christmas visits.
The award for the Watford FC Women’s team went to outgoing captain Helen Ward, who announced her retirement from an illustrious playing career at the end of the season. In the last season alone, the Welsh all-time record goalscorer has shown her role model status off the pitch as well as on it, with appearances at primary school football tournaments and a girls’ football festival at the trust’s hub Meriden Community Centre, as well as an international women’s day event with local secondary school pupils.
This award was as much about recognising Ward’s immense contribution to the community throughout her whole Watford FC playing career, being at the forefront of promoting messages of equality, including anti-racism and anti-homophobia.
Rob Smith, community director at the trust, said: “At Watford, we often refer to The Original Family Club and players giving back to our communities is a huge part of that. We’ve been fortunate over the years and it’s warming to see that it isn’t something lost on our current squads.
“Our thanks to the men’s, women’s, and academy players that have supported us during the 2022/23 season, led admirably by Daniel Bachmann and, as ever, Helen Ward. It also seems appropriate to thank our previous two-time PFA Community Champion, outgoing centre back Christian Kabasele, who regularly supported us both in appearances and donations.
“Now though, we look to the future and another season of success on both the pitch and off it, within our communities.”