Australia’s star striker Sam Kerr and emerging defensive talent Karly Roestbakken were revealed as the Professional Footballers Australia’s (the PFA’s) major award winners ‪on Thursday night.

Kerr claimed her third consecutive and fourth overall PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year Medal, having won the award previously in 2013, 2017 and 2018, while Roestbakken was voted by her peers as the PFA Young Women’s Footballer of the Year for the first time.

Roestbakken was also named the inaugural Collette McCallum medallist, a new award presented to an Australian player at youth international level who exemplifies exceptional standards, commitment and courage while representing their country.

Kerr was honoured at a presentation led by Fox Sports presenter Tara Rushton in Parramatta as the Matildas prepare to face Chile in a two game friendly series at Bankwest Stadium (‪3pm AEDT, Saturday) and Coopers Stadium (‪8pm AEDT, Tuesday).

Despite a strong field of nominees in Matildas teammates Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso, Kerr emerged as her peer’s pick after another brilliant 12 months of achievements on the global stage.

Crowned the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) MVP in the United States, Kerr won the American league’s Golden Boot award for the third year in a row with a 19-goal haul.  

Kerr led the Matildas during the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France as captain, scoring five goals in four matches during another impressive season for club and country and in October was named as a Ballon d’Or nominee.

Kerr was presented her award alongside her parents, Roxy and Roger Kerr.

Commenting on her award received in front of her peers and parents, Kerr said:

“It’s a really proud moment. I count this as one of the best awards to win, one that is voted on by your peers and to receive it with this bunch of girls is an amazing feeling because I respect them very much and I feel really honoured and lucky. 

“Everyone knows this is a team sport and this doesn’t happen without your teammates. I feel very lucky to be part of the Matildas at this time, I feel like it is the best generation of girls coming through.

“There is a lot of hard work and sacrifice that went into it, so it was nice to have mum and dad there who have been through all of it.”

The PFA’s Young Women’s Footballer of the Year recognises the outstanding achievement of an under-23 footballer playing in the W-League or an overseas-based Australian.

While Matilda Ellie Carpenter and Sydney FC’s W-League championship duo of Princess Ibini and Ally Green made exceptional candidates alongside Roestbakken as nominees, it was the 18-year-old Canberran who was voted by her peers as the preeminent performer over the past 12 months.

Having continued her prominent rise since her W-League debut as a 15-year-old for Canberra United in 2016, Roestbakken earned an unexpected senior call-up during the World Cup, making a dream Matildas debut against Brazil.

That followed Roestbakken’s form as the captain of the Young Matildas during their undefeated tournament in Myanmar in April.

The teenager’s performances and attitude also contributed to further recognition through the Collette McCallum Medal, a joint PFA-FFA initiative introduced in August, rewarding an outstanding female player from the Under 17 (Mini-Matildas) and Under 20 (Young Matildas) teams.  

Speaking from Thailand, Roestbakken said she was humbled by the dual accolades:

“I feel very honoured to receive both of these awards. It is amazing to see the recognition that females are getting today for their hard work and talent, so to be able to be on the receiving end of these awards means a lot to me. 

“To be the first recipient of the Collette McCallum Medal is honestly an incredible feeling and something I am very proud of. Thank you to everyone who voted for me and has supported me so far, you guys are awesome.” 

McCallum, an incredibly talented young footballer who has been recognised for setting the on-field standards of today’s Matildas, presented Roestbakken‘s parents with her award and thanked the PFA and the FFA for its introduction.

Karly Roestbakken’s parents, Lisa and Jack, accepted the award ‪on Thursday night on her behalf, alongside Collette McCallum (centre).

About the PFA Player Awards

The PFA awards celebrate Australia’s most exceptional senior and emerging players each season, based on the principle of peer recognition. 

The winners of the PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year and the PFA Young Women’s Footballer of the Year are voted on by the PFA’s membership and are judged on performances of the nominees both domestically and internationally.