Clapton Community Football Club are helping people from across Europe find a sense of belonging.
Sophia Axelsson, general secretary of the club women’s team, collected their Our Game Community Club of the Year award at the Non-League Paper’s National Game Awards in association with Isuzu.
Axelsson moved to London from Sweden in 2015 and joined the club three years later, crediting them with helping her to find ‘family’ in the capital.
Formed just five years ago by disillusioned supporters of Clapton FC, the club is 100 percent fan-owned and have become a beacon of light in their community.
“The award is a well-deserved recognition for all the volunteers and the hard work they’ve put into the club over the last five years,” said Axelsson, who is also general manager for AFC Wimbledon’s women’s side.
“We’re all about playing when you can and giving people opportunities to get involved in football on and off the pitch.”
The club had just one men’s team for the 2018/2019 season but has now two teams for men and women, as well as a host of five-a-side and friendly teams for people to dip into on a casual basis.
They have refurbished – and claimed full ownership – of the Old Spotted Dog Ground, London’s oldest senior football ground which is providing a great place for local people to get involved.
“Now we own the ground, the sky is the limit for what we can do in the community,” she said.
“It’s fantastic because while we had a base in Walthamstow for the senior sides, something we have complete control over and can determine how we want it to be used for the teams and the community is a massive step for us.”
Axelsson has been at the forefront of the club’s development and following their promotion to the Eastern Counties League Division One South (Step 6), the Clapton family is only set to grow.
“Being part of Clapton has been finding my family here in London,” she added. “I’ve been so proud to be part of the club for the last four years and the journey we’ve been on.
“We’re a community club that shares the same values as its members and knowing that football can have a massive impact in that way is very special.”
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