Caitlin Foord’s status as one of the world’s best female footballers was enhanced after the Westfield Matildas winger was crowned the 2016 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women’s Player of the Year on a memorable night for Australian football at a gala event in Abu Dhabi early this morning.
Foord won the prestigious award ahead of the other two nominees, team mate Lisa De Vanna and China P.R’s Tan Ruyin, to become the third Australian to win the prize, following Kate Gill in 2010 and Katrina Gorry in 2014.
The 22-year-old also becomes just the second player to receive both the youth and senior awards after she took out the AFC Women’s Young Player of the Year in 2011.
Foord was a standout performer during the Westfield Matildas’ qualifiers for the Rio Games and then the Rio tournament, while she also scored both goals in a 2-0 win over New Zealand in Ballarat back in June. The win is all the more remarkable considering she broke her collarbone at the start of the year.
“I wasn’t expecting this, thank you to the AFC and congratulations to everyone in Abu Dhabi for hosting this wonderful event. I accept this award on behalf of all the Matildas,” said Foord after receiving her trophy from AFC Executive Committee Member and AFC Women’s Football Committee Chairwoman Moya Dodd.
“Winning the AFC Youth Player of the Year award in 2011 was a massive achievement but of course winning this award is so much better. I would also like to congratulate the other nominees, Lisa and Tan, for an amazing year.
“Looking back at the Youth Player of the Year award, I was perhaps too young to really think too much of it. Now of course, I feel very privileged. I think it will be quite nice to reflect on these two awards later in my career.”
Foord’s win capped off a great night for Australian football as Football Federation Australia took out the AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football (Inspiring) which was accepted on the night by FFA Chairman Steven Lowy AM and CEO David Gallop.
Nominations for the AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football (Inspiring) were based on a points system which takes into account several criteria such as the structure and management of grassroots football as well as the philosophy and policy of Member Associations.
In addition, Member Associations’ grassroots partnerships with various external organisations were also assessed, as were technical programmes such as courses, workshops and talent identification. Other criteria include exchange programmes such as those with schools, administrative sub-regional football associations, communities and clubs as well as grassroots activities, for example promotional, educational and social responsibility events.
Australian referees Kate Jacewicz and Renae Coghill were also the recipients of the AFC Referees Special Award (Women).