Recently unveiled as recipients of the 2020 PFA Players’ Awards, award winners Mat Ryan, Steph Catley, Liberato, Steph Catley and Luke Brattan have shared their experiences of life on and off the pitch on the latest episode Footballers’ Voice podcast.

The quartet were voted by their peers in various categories, with Socceroo goalkeeper Ryan winning back-to-back PFA Men’s Player of the Year awards, Matilda Catley winning her first PFA Women’s Player of the Year Award and New Zealand international Cacace awarded the PFA Harry Kewell Medal.

On Tuesday, Luke Brattan was awarded the PFA Community Medal for his contribution to the Leukaemia Foundation. During the 2019/20 season, Brattan raised $30,000 for the national charity to support his 23-year-old sister Holli-Mia, who was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukaemia, through the World’s Greatest Shave initiative. While recounting the success of Sydney FC’s Premiers Plate-Championship double, in this raw, open and honest conversation, Brattan reveals his family’s challenges extended beyond just his sister’s fight with Leukaemia.

“Obviously it has been a tough year. There’s a couple of big things that have happened off the field that obviously have affected my family. Family is my number one priority and family’s everything to me and it was tough, but we got through it and I had football there to distract me. The boys and Bimbi [Sydney FC Head Coach Steve Corica] and the staff and everyone involved at Sydney FC were fantastic to me during that time.”

In a wide-ranging chat on the podcast, Mat Ryan, Australia’s sole representative in the English Premier League, reflects on his rise to the heights of the world game with Brighton and Hove and the Socceroos.

“To be out there representing Australia on the world stage and at a level like the Premier League, it’s still mind blowing and I’m just enjoying every moment of it.

“I’m still pinching myself now to be honest. I just remember driving home from school in the car with my mum at times and talking with my fellow teammates growing up as a kid and just wondering and talking to them if we or myself would ever be good enough to hit the heights of playing European football let alone in one of the best leagues in the world, if not the best league in the world.”

Matildas left-back Steph Catley shares her thoughts on winning the PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year, while also providing an insight into her recent move the FA Women’s Super League with Arsenal.

“It’s an absolutely incredible feeling, very unexpected, especially being nominated with Sam and Emily who have both had incredible last two, three years… it’s absolutely an incredible feeling, very humbling and there’s no better award then being recognised by your teammates as well. That’s the one that definitely hits home and it’s a proud moment for me for sure.”

Liberato Cacace was an outstanding performer in the A-League for Wellington Phoenix last season, helping to elevate the club to its highest competition finish. His form earned him a position within the PFA’s A-League Team of the Season 2019/20, before capping off the year with the PFA Harry Kewell Medal. Since his move to Belgian outfit Sint-Truiden, the Kiwi has been focussing on staying grounded during his latest career challenge.

“It was a big shock when I headed over here, it was a big change compared to the A-League and everyday when I train, I look at that and keep myself grounded. You can always be better every day and I think that was a massive factor of keeping my head down; it was just knowing that you can be better and there’s always someone out there working harder than you so that was helping me wake up every day and obviously I’m working as hard as I can.”

Subscribe and listen to Episode 5 of the Footballers’ Voice via SpotifyApple and Google podcasts. Footballers’ Voice is a podcast produced in partnership between Professional Footballers Australia (the PFA) and Podular Media.