Now in its second year, the Optus Small Sided Football Awards program aims to recognise and reward players, coaches and teams participating in Small Sided Football.
Australian Qantas Socceroos Captain and grassroots football advocate, Lucas Neill said, “Last year we received some outstanding and inspiring entries which makes me really proud to be an ambassador for the Optus Small Sided Football Awards for a second year.
“Football has always been a community sport and it’s exciting to see not only the clubs but the community getting behind their local teams and players by voting for them.”
“The Princes Street Zebra’s from Tasmania, who took out the team award last year, showed a lot of community spirit during their campaign. It was fantastic to reward them with $10,000 to help build their team.”
“They were not necessarily the best team but showed a lot of spirit and a passion for the game which is what myself and the other judges are really looking for again this year.”
Football star Tim Cahill told motherpedia.com.au that the awards were about shining a light on the fun that Australian kids have in participating in football.
“While there are obvious positive health impacts of getting outdoors and exercising, it’s about having a good time with your friends and enjoying yourself.”
“Initiatives like the Optus Small Sided Football Awards are a great way of rewarding local teams and players, helping build clubs and celebrate the stars of tomorrow.”
The 2012 Optus Small Sided Football Awards is comprised of four categories, developed in conjunction with Lucas Neill:
Lucas Neill Award Male and Female– recognises two players - a young male player and female player who have not only shown skill on the pitch but also demonstrated a love of the game, learnt new skills and have helped others be their best. They don't have to be the best player, but be someone who respects the referee, their team and the opposition.
Coach of the Year Award– recognises a really top coach. We're not looking for the coach who knows the most, but a motivator, someone who inspires the team to do the best they can.
Team of the Year Award– recognises a team that shows great teamwork, a love of the game and a good attitude. A bunch of kids who just love playing football together. Win or lose, it’s about enjoying the game that counts.
Nominations for the awards are open until August 31, 2012 with prizes including training sessions with top players such as Lucas Neill, and a $10,000 grant for the Team of the Year Award.
Through participation in the awards, Optus also provides money-can’t-buy opportunities for players to demonstrate at half time during matches or sit on the bench alongside the professional players on the pitch at selected matches.
300 Optus Small Sided Football Teams who enter will also receive equipment packs containing goals, balls, bibs and cones - all designed to provide coaches with better equipment to assist in developing their players.
For full details on each award category including prizes and criteria, and to nominate and vote please visit