Football NSW Female Football Week Awards Announced

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As part of our Female Football Week celebrations, Football NSW is celebrating the contributions of dedicated individuals within our community! The following Award winners were nominated by members of the local community and are in contention for the national Female Football Week Awards to be announced on Friday, May 10th.

Female Referee of the Year: Frieda Maher (Canterbury Referees Association)

“Frieda Maher continually goes above and beyond to give back to football in all areas, and most recently, in the referee space. Frieda has been involved as a player and a coach and in 2019 began refereeing with her local branch, Canterbury Referees Association.

“Alongside her treasurer commitments to her club (a role she first took up in 2015), Leichhardt Saints Football Club, Frieda worked on the club’s Junior Referees Program and Game Leader Program, which saw her recognized by Football Canterbury in 2023 with the Cec Barlow Award. In 2021, Frieda Maher was awarded life membership of Leichhardt Saints Football Club.

“In 2023, Frieda was awarded a Legacy Referee Coach Scholarship and obtained her assessor qualification, further sharing her experience and knowledge to support and mentor junior referees both on community matches, and with FNSW at Proctor Park Challenge 2023. Frieda’s genuine care for all stakeholders in the game shines in her words and actions both on and off the football field and her leadership has had a positive impact on referees and players alike.”

Female Coach of the Year: Zainab Jaber (Banksia Tigers and Football St George)

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“Zainab has consistently demonstrated highly engaged and respectful behaviours within her affiliated community football club, Banksia Tigers FC, and her role as Under 10’s Head Coach at Football St George. She goes above and beyond to connect with players, parents, and fellow coaches, fostering a positive and supportive environment for everyone involved.

“Not only is Zainab deeply passionate about coaching, but she also serves as a beacon of leadership within her club. She actively encourages and inspires others to excel in their roles, whether it’s coaching, playing, or volunteering. Her enthusiasm is infectious, motivating others to give their best on and off the field.

“Zainab is dedicated to supporting underrepresented groups within the football community. She invests her time, skills, and resources to ensure that everyone, regardless of background or ability, has equal opportunities to participate and thrive in the sport.

“As a coach, Zainab has made significant efforts to mentor and support other members of her community football club. Whether it’s providing guidance to new coaches, offering feedback to players, she is always willing to lend a helping hand.

“Zainab exemplifies the values of fairness, integrity, inclusion, and respect in everything she does. She leads by example, promoting these core principles both on and off the field, and she actively works to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for all members of her community football club.”

Female Player of the Year: Tamsin Colley (Hurlstone Park Wanderers)

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“At just 21, Tamsin already has a distinguished sporting career, as the youngest ever Australian track and field Paralympian. But now we are celebrating her enthusiasm, dedication and performance as a footballer. Tamsin is passionate about football and has trained with the Randwick City Purple Hearts and participated in NSW CP football training programs, with the dream of becoming a ParaMatilda.

“In 2023 Tamsin approached Hurlstone Park Wanderers where a family friend was playing in 035 women’s. Tamsin joined one of the club’s All Age Women’s teams and immediately became a key member of the team, playing a key role in defence with her incredible speed and fitness, determination and never-give-up attitude. Tamsin’s team reached the semi-finals in 2023 and have had a fantastic start to season 2024.

“But 2023 also saw Tamsin realise her ambition when she was selected first for a ParaMatildas camp, then for the IFCPF Asia Oceania Championships squad, where she made her debut with a hat-trick! This is incredible success, but what we also want to highlight is how Tamsin has embraced our club community. She was an enthusiastic participant in our 100th Anniversary All Abilities Gala Day, joins in club women’s skills training, is a vital member of her team, has also promoted Football Canterbury through social media, and is an enthusiastic role model for our planned All Abilities Female program to launch in 2024.

“Tamsin is an amazing inspiration for all our players, because she always pushes her limits and because of her joyous enthusiasm for football, for her club and for her teams (both HPW and the ParaMatildas).  She is also an Ambassador for the Cerebral Palsy Sporting and Recreation Association and member of the UNSW Elite Athlete Program, demonstrating the success of athletes with disabilities.”

Female Volunteer of the Year: Robyn Churchland (Orange Waratah Soccer Club)

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“I’ve known Robyn for several years now and what she has achieved for local women’s football is incredible.

“Four years ago there wasn’t even a league in our area, but now there is an eight-team 11 a side winter competition, with Robyn single-handedly assembling and managing two full women’s teams.

“Robyn also helped support women’s football in the summer by building a 7-a-side competition containing multiple sides at women, girl and junior level.

“Without Robyn’s persistence, drive and love of women’s football, it is more than likely there would be no women’s league in Orange and all these fantastic female players would be lost to other sports.”

Community Champion of the Year: Carl Baker (Bradbury Ambarvale Football Club)

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“Carl is the current secretary of the Bradbury Ambarvale Football Club and has been an innovator in the female space not only at the Bradbury Bears club but across Macarthur. Has been responsible for helping the club not only be one of the top female participation clubs not only in Macarthur but in the whole of Australia with nearly 40% of players.

“Most recently Carl organised a massive gala day for almost 400 female participants in Macarthur. This event was featured on many news outlets including Channel 10, Channel 9 and Channel 7 news in primetime straight after the Matildas third place playoff game. This was the first of its kind and was the second biggest female football event after the World Cup. Carl was able to work with governments for funding for the event and really showcased female football talent in Macarthur which had never been done before. Things that have helped also increase the female participation rate at the club is that Carl has organised, Girls Come and try days, free female school holiday clinics, grants for female players to help reduce fees and female football week celebrations.

“Carl was also instrumental in having the club awarded their Club Changer star rating. As part of this initiative he also is a part of the volunteer Club Changer panel that meets with Football Australia once a month to discuss new innovations. All of the extra things that he takes on is in addition to his role as a coach, manager and also normal day-to-day secretary role. The club has seen a growth of almost 100% in female players since he has been part of the committee.”

Female Football Week Hub