Kellond-Knight recognised for stellar year | TWG Kellond-Knight recognised for stellar year | TWG

The third annual Australian Football Awards incorporating the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and Football Media Association of Australia (FMA) awards were held in Sydney with Brisbane Roar's Elise Kellond-Knight and Sydney FC's Caitlin Foord taking out the top professional awards.

Kellond-Knight topped off a magnificent year for the 21 year old as she was awarded the PFA Women's Footballer of the Year as voted on by her Matildas' teammates and the 2011 FFA Female Footballer of the Year. Currently playing for Fortuna Hjorran in Denmark, Kellond-Knight's parents were on hand to receive the awards on behalf of their daughter.

Meanwhile Caitlin Foord was deservedly awarded the U20 Female Footballer of the Year after a stellar breakthrough year with both Sydney FC and the Matildas. This adds to Foord's Best Young Player award at the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup. Foord was unable to accept the award in person as she is currently away with the Young Matildas as they attempt to qualify for the FIFA U20 Women's World Cup next year.

In addition, Elise Kellond-Knight also bagged both top gongs with the PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year Award who received 39 votes from her fellow Matildas.  16 year-old forward Caitlin Foord finished second with 25 votes, whilst goalkeeper Lydia Williams was third with 19.

Other female award winners saw Melbournian Jamara Muza, who also recently won the Victorian Coach of the Year, take out the Female Coach of the Year while the Under 14 girls from the Woden Valley Soccer Club were voted youth team of the year for their exploits overseas.

Also recognised was Illawarra Stingray’s coach Brett Wallin who was awarded the Male Coach of the Year after he took to their third successive NSW Women’s Premier League championship.

Held at the Sheraton on the Park Hotel, the awards brought together the Qantas Socceroos, Westfield Matildas and the grass roots football community. Several current and past Matildas were on hand including captain Melissa Barbieri and former captain Cheryl Salisbury as well as new Canberra United coach Jitka Klimkova.

Women's Football Award Winners (Provided by FFA)

Footballer of the Year (Female) – Elise Kellond-Knight (Brisbane, Queensland)

One of the most dynamic and tenacious players coming through in an impressive crop of Westfield Matildas, Elise or KK to her teammates,  has owned the left back position for the Westfield Matildas for the past two years putting in a series of commanding performances for both the Brisbane Roar and the Westfield Matildas.

At the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2011 Elise was a standout performer for the Westfield Matildas as the team reached the quarter-finals with her performances acknowledged when she was announced in the World All-star team at the end of the tournament. Elise is currently playing UEFA Champions League and Club football in Denmark for Fortuna Hjorring.

Under 20 Footballer of the Year (Female) – Caitlin Foord (Wollongong, NSW)

2010/11 has been a whirlwind breakthrough season for Caitlin Foord. The gifted striker-come-wing back not only helped Sydney FC to consecutive Westfield W-League Grand Final appearances but also firmly established herself in the Westfield Matildas squad for the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 where, with only one cap to her name prior to leaving for Germany, found herself starting against Brazil in the opening match at right back and marking five time FIFA Women’s Player of the Year - Marta. In doing so, Caitlin also became the youngest ever Australian to play at a FIFA World Cup at the age of 16 years and 230 days.

After starting the next three more games in the tournament, including the quarter final loss to Sweden, Caitlin’s outstanding performances were recognised when she was named the first ever Hyundai Best Young Footballer at the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011  tournament.

Junior Team of The Year: Woden Valley Soccer Club Redbacks (Canberra, ACT)

The Under 14 Redbacks and their families raised $90,000 selling raffle tickets with the dream of competing in two of the world’s largest junior club football tournaments in Europe. During the Gothia Cup in Sweden this year they competed against 80 teams in their age group, eventually losing the final of Group B in a penalty shootout and only conceding two goals in normal time during the tournament. Moving on to the Dana Cup in Denmark the girls from Canberra were up against 33 other Under 14 teams and were undefeated in their eight games to claim the championship. During their entire tour the girls the girls won 12 games, had two draws and two losses. In their last 15 games they only conceded one goal in normal time. Importantly their sportsmanship was acknowledged by all of their opponents, many of whom became supporters for later games. Fifteen of the girls have gone on to represent the ACT in futsal and outdoor and they have now set their sights returning for the Gothia Cup as under 16s and competing in the prestigious Dallas Cup next year.

Male Coach of the Year – Brett Wallin (Wollongong, NSW)

Brett Wallin started his NSW Premier League coaching career at the Macarthur Rams and took them to the grand final in 2004 and the semi finals in 2005. In 2006 he became the head coach of the Illawarra Stingrays and won the Waratah Shield and took them to the grand final. In 2009, 2010 and 2011, Wallin’s Stingrays were both premiers and grand final winners. Despite the impressive record, Wallin is not only a great coach but a fantastic mentor and many of his players have gone on to Westfield W-League careers. However, his most testing role was supporting his players and friends through the tragic death of striker Ash Connor earlier this year who died in a car accident following a team meeting. Connor had gone to the club to be coached by Wallin.

Female Coach of the Year – Jamara Maza (Melbourne, Victoria)

Jamara Maza holds a Youth Certificate 2 and is the current Victorian Female Coach of the Year. She delivered the Indigenous Football Development Program at Worawa Aboriginal College and coached the Victorian Girls team at the National Indigenous Football Festival in Alice Springs. Maza, who also plays in the Victorian Premier League for Heidelberg United, has shown an amazing dedication and an ability to engage the Victorian Aboriginal community. She has consistently demonstrated her dedication to the game and assisted Football Federation Victoria with its important community programs. This year she attended the FIFA Grassroots Program to continue her development.