Aberdeen have won the prestigious "Best Professional Football Club" prize at the 2019 UEFA Grassroots Awards.
The club, alongside their partner charity the Aberdeen FC Community Trust, has engaged with over 20'000 people in projects focusing on three main themes: football for life, education and healthy communities.
The UEFA Best Professional Football Club prize rewards outstanding grassroots work by a professional club, promoting in particular a holistic approach to grassroots football and providing for a wide range of participants.
The club's Community Operations Manager Steven Sweeney outlines the importance of reaching out to the community. "What price can you put on people feeling better about themselves, and using football as a tool to do that? It's our responsibility as a football club to reach every part of the community."
The club has been working with the Scottish FA to help increase participation in the area and have shared goals, resources and even staff members in order to help grow local clubs and create a joined-up player pathway in the local area.
"I think what we have got is unique," says Sweeney. "It's quite innovative, and I think it's best practice. The approach is simple. it's just about good people trying to do their best to make a difference to grassroots football."
"I think part of it is the genuine family feel we have at the club," Sweeney reflects. "[An] authentic community spirit that goes deeper than the football club – that's why we're so determined to share the success and celebrate it together with the club's supporters, all our community partners, our city, our region, and Scottish football as a whole."