The Westfield Matildas and superstar attacker Sam Kerr continue to earn recognition for their achievements this year with two national awards in Sydney last night.
The Westfield Matildas are ranked 6th in world after winning the Tournament of Nations in the United States in July with a clean sweep against the US, Japan and Brazil.
They followed this up with back to back victories against Brazil in front of record crowds at Penrith and Newcastle in September. On current form, the Westfield Matildas are genuine contenders for both the AFC Women’s Asian Cup next year in Jordan and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France in 2019.
Last night they were named Team of the Year and received a standing ovation at the Women’s Health Women in Sport Awards.
Sam Kerr, whose goal scoring and trademark back-flip celebrations for the Westfield Matildas, her US club Sky Blue FC in New Jersey and her Westfield W-League club Perth Glory have earned her global headlines, was named Sportswoman of the Year.
Kerr won the Golden Boot in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) competition for Blue Sky FC with a record 17 goals in 22 appearances, and scored seven goals for the Westfield Matildas in 2017 against world-class opposition.
Football West CEO James Curtis said the enthusiasm and skill shown by Perth-born Kerr and the Westfield Matildas squad has been an inspiration for young female footballers hoping to follow in their footsteps.
“Watching Sam in action for Perth Glory is a privilege and is something that all young footballers in WA will be relishing.
“Sam and the Westfield Matildas have done wonderful things for women’s football in WA and nationwide, and their recognition at the Women’s Health Women in Sport Awards is very well-earned.”
Football Federation Australia Chairman Steven Lowy AM congratulated Kerr and the entire Westfield Matildas squad, coaching staff led by Alen Stajcic and other support staff.
“This recognition is richly deserved,” said Lowy.
“Sam Kerr and her team mates are great ambassadors for our sport and for our country. We will continue to support them in every way we can and to support the growth of women’s football.
“There is no doubt Sam is a special player. I’d encourage everyone who can to get down to the Westfield W-League this season to see her in action for Perth Glory,” he said.
CEO David Gallop AM said FFA’s strategy for women’s football began with four-year-olds and extended all the way to the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“It was great to be there last night to see Sam pick up the big award and to be with Lisa (De Vanna), Steph (Catley) and Sam when the Westfield Matildas got the recognition they deserve for a stellar year,” said Gallop.
“We have an emphasis on encouraging more girls to play through our national ALDI MiniRoos Kick Off program and we know it’s working.
“We have recently announced improved pay and employment conditions for our Westfield W-League players, in collaboration with the clubs and Professional Footballers Australia. We have two friendlies arranged for the Westfield Matildas to play China in Melbourne and Geelong next month, and we have political and financial backing from the Federal Government on our bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2017.
“This is now about much more than women’s football – it is about the football itself and it is fair to say the game has never been bigger or busier in Australia,” he said.