Vladimir Coufal’s incredibly underrated work for the local community has finally been recognised with an award.

A lot of the time, it’s extremely hard to judge what sort of a person a player really is. What we see on the pitch and in the media is obviously meant to be them at their best to appeal to fans.

We have seen it countless times where players seem lovely, but they’ve done some awful things behind closed doors. Thankfully though, there are some good ones left but they often go under the radar.

One such player is Vladimir Coufal who’s efforts to help the community have gone largely unnoticed and unreported. He has engaged with the youth to advise and act as a role model, helped provide meals as well as donating large amounts to charity.

Winning the players’ project award clearly meant a lot to the 31-year-old, potentially even more so for something he’s done on the pitch. “It’s quite a good feeling to be honest, to win something else rather than just for performances on the pitch,” Coufal told the official site. “It’s really important for me, and I said it from the first moment that I started to do some projects for the foundation that the West Ham community is very important, so to win this prize is obviously good for me, is something new and I really appreciate it.”

“I think the whole community of east London is connected to our Club and West Ham, so it is very important. I meet these people [in the community] every day when I go for a coffee with my family, when I train at the park with my son or when they come to ask for a photograph or an autograph.”

“It is a pleasure that these people recognise me and that they are so kind, so I just try to give them the same side of love, and to be able to be a part of the project’s within the Foundation for the people who don’t have money, can’t afford for their kids to go to football training or provide hot lunches means a lot and is something that is so important to me. As a kid we had money but not what we wanted, so it is important for me to help these kids get the opportunities to grow up.”

Outside of West Ham, Coufal also donates to his selected charities – in particular one to help support the families of children with cancer.

“I also have my own projects, so every year me, my wife and our family give a certain amount of money to the hospital where kids with cancer [visit for treatment]. The mothers have to be there with their kids almost 24 hours per day and it is very difficult for them to buy something so I always give them a certain amount of money.”

“I hope so, but I think so for sure [it helped me become the person and player I am today]. On the pitch I am maybe a bit more aggressive than I am in my personal life but I try to be very, very kind to the people who love me and try to be an idol for a lot of people. How you behave to people is how they will behave to you is my main piece of advice for the kids. I grew up with these conditions and my mother and father tried to treat me like that, so I am just trying to keep on going and advising the kids of the same.”

Coufal is absolutely spot on with what he’s saying. Everyone who has met him only has positive things to say about him and the work he’s done when the cameras aren’t on him goes to show what a wonderful individual he is. He clearly has understood what it truly means to represent this special club.