Samantha Gough has been named as the Goalball UK Player of the Season for the 2019/20 season.
Despite only playing goalball since March 2019 and with the season ending prematurely, the campaign has been a real breakthrough one for Samantha, impressing both on and off the court whilst representing York and composite teams.
Samantha demonstrated an admirable dedication and commitment to the sport through her enthusiasm to become a true team player. With no goalball club close to her home in Scotland, she regularly goes above and beyond to attend training and competitions.
Samantha made her competitive debut for a composite team in a Goalball UK tournament held in Sheffield in October last year. The team claimed gold and Samantha was the highest female goal scorer with 18 strikes in six games.
Continuing her fantastic progress, she participated in her first Intermediate Goalball UK tournament for York. Samantha again stole the headlines and finished as the top female scorer, finding the net 15 times.
Her remarkable form saw her receive invitations to Goalball UK talent camps for exceptional players with the potential to compete at elite level and for the Great Britain squads.
Speaking about receiving the award, Samantha said: “I am absolutely delighted to be named Player of the Season by Goalball UK. I have not been playing goalball long at all, but the sport has had an amazing impact on me. I can’t wait to get back on the court next season and to keep on improving – my ultimate goal is to represent Great Britain.
“This award wouldn’t have been possible about the amazing support network I have – from Kathryn Fielding, who kicked off my goalball journey, and my coaches Robert Avery and Simon Kumar, to my many teammates, the goalball family and Neal Herbert from Scottish Disability Sport.
“But most importantly, my mum, who tirelessly manages my goalball schedules, has been incredibly crucial for me. Her constant support has given me the ambition and drive to take the opportunity to play goalball and continue excelling.”
The Goalball UK Player of the Season Awards does not just recognise the top players in the league, but also those that could have made significant improvements in their game or set the standard on and off court with their behaviour.
Dina Murdie, the goalball stalwart who chairs the End of Season Awards Panel, said: “We are delighted to present Samantha with this award – she is a truly deserving winner. Ultimately, Samantha’s incredible commitment to the sport, which has been evident all season and ever since she started playing, is what clinched it for her. Everyone at Goalball UK is so excited to help Samantha to continue her remarkable development.
“With so many fantastic people to choose from this year’s shortlist, it was a tough decision that took a lot of deliberation. We want to say a massive thank you to every member of the goalball family that has made this season so special despite the current situation we are living through – we can’t wait to be back playing goalball with you all next season.”
You can check out the virtual presentation where Samantha is announced as the winner below.