GIRLS’ Football Week gets underway today and there’s one female team in the North-East that’s luckier than most – because they have a particularly inspirational coach.

The Chester-le-Street Amazons Under-Sevens Girls’ Team, otherwise known as The Stompers, are doing well under the expert guidance of a special young man called Harry Brown.

Harry’s like lots of other youngsters in the North-East – football-daft – and yet he’s different because he has Down's Syndrome.

His achievements were recognised when he was crowned “Participant of the Year” at the North-East Disability Sports Awards, an accolade that triggered tributes from all over the world.

And it was a privilege to pop up to Chester-le-Street’s Park View School, where The Amazons train, to watch 15-year-old Harry in action as the official Assistant Coach of The Stompers.

He knows what he wants, barking out instructions as the girls go through their paces, then showing his softer side when one of his players comes to him in tears because she’s had her foot trodden on.

“Are you OK?” he asks, gently placing a hand on the little girl’s shoulder. “Give it a waggle…oh, you’re going to fine.”

Harry is the latest star to emerge from the phenomenon that is the Amazons FC, founded from scratch by 54-year-old mum-of-two Julie Scurfield in 2005, and now fielding ten teams, with 130 girls representing the club.

“I knew he had something special the first time I clapped eyes on him,” Julie recalls.

Harry was watching his sister Gracie playing for The Amazons at the time, shouting encouragement from the side-lines one minute and telling her off for not tracking back the next.

“I just thought to myself ‘Well, he knows what he’s talking about’ and kept an eye on him,” says Julie. “We’re always looking for people to help out and I could tell he’d be great with the little-ones. By the time the final whistle blew, I’d asked him if he fancied being a coach.”

That was 18 months ago, and Harry’s now fully established as part of the coaching team, working alongside Head Development Coach Steve Burns and fellow Assistant Coach Liam Farr.

“He’s been a fantastic ambassador for our club and embodies our whole approach to being inclusive and welcoming everyone into The Amazons family,” says Julie.

It’s hard to drag Harry off the pitch but in a break from coaching, he’s quick to declare his ambition to take his official Level 1 coaching badge when he’s 16.

“I like to see the potential in players and help them to improve – it gives me a lot of satisfaction and makes me happy,” he says.

And his team, which includes his other sister, Beth, are clearly benefiting from his knowledge and passion, because they’re improving with every performance in the Russell Foster League.

As for his recent award, it’s become one of Harry’s proudest memories, along with playing for Newcastle United Foundation’s Down’s Syndrome Team, scoring a penalty at St James’ Park, and meeting the players. Dwight Gayle’s boots and Tim Krul’s gloves are among his prized possessions.

“We’re just so proud of him,” says mum Tracy. “We always knew he was special but it means so much for it to be recognised by others and we can’t thank The Amazons enough for what they’ve done for him.”

After the awards ceremony, the engagingly confident Harry was interviewed by Julie on film and promptly announced that he’d be asking his dad, Gavin, to build a trophy cabinet “for this award and many more to come”.

A Facebook post of the interview has now reached nearly half a million people around the world, with a filmed message of congratulations even coming back from The White Eagles Boys’ Football Team in Australia.

Asked on the film for three pieces of advice to youngsters, Harry answered without hesitation: “Don’t be shy…Don’t Stop Believing…And follow your dreams.”

Harry’s dream is to one day be a professional coach with his beloved Newcastle United. “Why not?” he asks, with a shrug of his shoulders. Why not, indeed.

JUST like The Amazons in Chester-le-Street, The Wildcats are going from strength to strength in Darlington.

The SSE Wildcats, to be exact, are part of the Spraire Lads and Lasses, run by the admirable Dave Scott. The Spraire footballing family comprises 250 players and 16 teams, including four women’s teams.

The Wildcats were formed last March to encourage young girls to play football and there are now around 30 members, aged from five to 11.

One of the coaches, Laura Summers, a student at Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College, got in touch with me ahead of Girls’ Football Week, seeking to spread the word.

The Wildcats meet for fun sessions at the Abbey Road Playing Field, or Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form College if it’s wet, every Tuesday between 4.30pm and 5.30pm.

And, due to the initial success, the FA has given permission for a second session, from 5.30pm to 6.30pm, starting this week.

“We just want to get the word out that this is happening,” says Laura, who’s also a qualified referee. “It’s ideal for girls who might never have played football before but want to have fun and make friends.”

Sessions cost just £2 and to find out more, call Dave or Linda Scott on 01325 253581.