Jim Messenger, an American football coach who has turned women’s contact football into a UK national sport in just three years has been given the British Prime Minister’s Points of Light. The prestigious award recognizes outstanding individual volunteers in the United Kingdom – people who are making a change in their community.
Messenger was presented with his award by Chancellor George Osborne at Wembley last weekend as the Kansas City Chiefs took on the Detroit Lions.
Messenger, 58, from Essex, has been coaching American Football for over 25 years and over the last three years he has taken the sport from a three-team university endeavour to a 20 team national programme involving over 400 players.
As Great Britain Women’s American Football Head Coach and the British American Football Association Women’s Lead Development Manager, Jim has also been the driving force in establishing the first 11-a-side women’s Great Britain team. This summer he coached the 50-woman squad to second place in their first European Championship. As well as his work to develop the sport at elite level, Jim has also set up the ‘Diamond League’ which is open to players of all ability including complete beginners. Jim is dedicated to supporting the growth of the game and has created a development path to bring women through from beginners to the elite squad.
Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Jim has transformed women’s American Football in the UK at every level, from grassroots to the national team. His tireless dedication has given hundreds of women the chance to get involved in the sport and I am delighted to recognise Jim’s service by making him the UK’s 380th Point of Light.”