Kruse creates football awards history

ROBBIE Kruse, Mile Jedinak and Lisa De Vanna were among the big winners at the 2013 Australian Football Awards held at the Sydney Convention Centre on Wednesday night.

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Jedinak and De Vanna claimed Male and Female Footballer of the Year honours at the gala event that included a who's who of Australian footballing royalty.

But it was Socceroo Robbie Kruse, who enjoyed a break-out season in the 2012/13 season of the Bundesliga, who created a little bit of history on the night.

The 25-year-old picked up the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) Footballer of the Year Award. Chosen by his peers, Kruse - who plays for Bayer Leverkusen - became the youngest recipient of the award and the first man to claim the double after receiving the Harry Kewell Medal for the best under 23 player in 2011.

Matildas and Sydney FC goal scoring star Samantha Kerr won the PFA Women's Footballer of the Year.

Kiwi international Marco Rojas who signed with Bundesliga outfit VfB Stuttgart from Melbourne Victory in May this year was awarded the Harry Kewell award.

Jedinak,a stalwart of the Socceroos, enjoyed a stellar season with Crystal Palace and captained the side as it won promotion to the English topflight.

Meanwhile, the news just gets better for award recipient De Vanna. Her audacious bicycle kick, scored for Sky Blue FC in the US National Womens Soccer League, has been shortlisted for Goal of the Year at the FIFA awards.

De Vanna, who lines up for Melbourne Victory in the W-League, is among 10 nominees including Antonio Di Natale, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and  Neymar for the Puskas Award, which recognises the best strike of 2013.

The Australian Football Awards recognises outstanding achievement in the game from the grassroots to the elite ranks of the Socceroos and Westfield Matildas.

In the other professional category awards, Matilda Stephanie Catley picked up the Female U20 Footballer of the Year for the second running while Newcastle Jets midfielder Josh Brillante took out the Male U20 Footballer of the Year.

In the non-professional category teams, volunteers, coaches and referees from around the nation were also recognised

The male coach of the year award went to Alain Pace of South Australia and the female coach of the year went to Michelle Aurousseau from Canberra.

The referee of the year went to Katherine Jacewicz from Victoria and the volunteer of the year award was presented to the husband and wife team of  Alex & Alexandra Threadgate, Maitland, in Northern NSW for their work with children with additional needs .

Two new awards were also presented with Tamara Felsch from Terrigal, NSW receiving the ME Bank Green Card for Fairer Play Award and the Australian Somali Football Association receiving the Asian Cup 2015 Community Project of the Year Award.

James Turner from NSW was named the Pararoos Footballer of the Year.

   ___   >>> click here for awards night pics