ELLE Whittaker is proving to be an inspiration on the football field as she fends off the troubles that come from being bullied.

The 15-year-old Crosfields JFC player, coach, referee and committee players' representative has been named the region's FA Rising Star of the Year in recognition of going the extra mile as a young volunteer in the grassroots game.

Elle, who studies at Sir Thomas Boteler High School in Latchford, is now being considered for the national award.

> READ: Daniel wins four medals in his first tournament

Her efforts and achievements are all the more impressive considering the hurdles she has been jumping.

"She has had to move school a couple of times due to bullying on both occasions," said her dad, Stewart, who revealed that Elle wants her story to help show other young people that they too can get through any troubles they may be facing.

"Due to this she has and is still undergoing treatment for mental health issues.

"With the therapy we are paying for, the NHS stuff and also Sir Thomas Boteler, she seems to be winning the battle.

"To see her achieve this award for the region fills her mum and I with pride with everything she has gone through."

Warrington Guardian:

Elle is a member of this season's champion Crosfields JFC under 15s girls team, and has played at the club since she was eight years old after having first got into football at Locking Stumps Primary School.

Now she is a qualified referee and assists in coaching the under 13s boys team.

Helen Atkinson, the Crosfields JFC child welfare officer and current FA Football Mum of the Year, said: "Elle is a fantastic role model for the girls section and the club.

"She has shown great determination and drive, through putting her personal problems aside and getting to where she is now.

"Elle has built up her confidence both on and off the pitch and developed excellent football skills while doing so.

"She is a fully qualified ref who controls games with ease and shows authority with players, coaches and adults.

"Elle looks comfortable on the pitch and will encourage players while reffing which demonstrates her ability to develop children at any opportunity.

"She has recently taken over assisting the under 13s boys section with coaching, which for a young girl may seem daunting.

"However, Elle has been a great asset to the age group with her football knowledge and goes from strength to strength at each session."

Kelly Christopher, club welfare officer and head of lads at under 13s level, added: "I have been very impressed with her positive attitude when working with other players within the club.

> How Crosfields JFC under 15s girls became Cheshire League champions at under 16s level

"It’s amazing to see a girl her age with such a natural ability to encourage and guide our younger players.

"During club meetings, Elle shares the players' views on how the club should move forward in her role as our player representative."

Clearly, Elle is winning in football, and beating the bullies in the process.