Over 150 contracted A-League and W-League players converged on Melbourne’s Langham Hotel this week to attend Professional Footballers Australia’s two-day Player Development Camp.

Designed to equip Australia’s elite players with the necessary skills to excel on and off the pitch, the two-day intensive Camp provided players with access to educational workshops and introduced early career players to the PFA’s mission and values.

The annual event, proudly supported by PFA Major Partner LUCRF Super, is the third in PFA history, with the initiative introduced in 2017.

Four-time Olympian and Sport Australia Hall of Fame inductee Lauren Jacksonjoined former AFL footballer Heath Black, Commonwealth Games gold medallist and former netballer Bianca Chatfield and former PFA Chair, CEO and Life MemberCraig Foster as inspiring guest speakers.

The quartet provided personal stories on resilience, motivation, leadership, mental health and the significance of player welfare.

The player workshops covered a diverse range of topics impacting players’ careers, including coaching pathways, athlete branding, personal wellbeing, financial literacy, contract negotiation, the media, athlete activism and sports administration.

The event also provided the opportunity to acknowledge Tara Andrews, Tarek Elrich, Cass Davis, Jamie Young and Hakeem al-Araibi as 2019 PFA Scholarship recipients, awarded prior to a special screening of ‘Alone in the Game’ – a documentary about the ongoing struggles LGBTIQ athletes face in professional sport.

The Scholarships highlight and celebrate the legacy created by two champions of the PFA, Craig Foster and Co-Founder and Kimon Taliadoros, and recognise the achievements of the current generation of PFA members.

Glen MossandMelissa Maizelswere also scholarship recipients, receiving PFA Coaching Scholarships, awarded to PFA Members who have demonstrated a profound commitment in pursuit of coaching excellence.

Speaking from the Camp, PFA Executive Member and Newcastle Jets captain Nigel Boogaard said the event had presented the players with a diverse range of career options and skills to drive themselves to be better people and players.

“The Player Development Camp provided a massive opportunity for the players to tap into the resources that the PFA provides,” Boogaard said.

“This year’s format empowered players to make informed choices about what direction they want to take their careers and shape their lives off the pitch, while considering the challenges of transition and life after football.

“The speakers provided incredible motivation for the players and there was a real energy and willingness to learn and better themselves.”

Alex Chidiacof Atlético Madrid said the Camp had been incredible experience for players to start to ensure they have the tools and techniques to utilise during their transient careers.

“It’s vital for us, as players, to think about not just your current career but to equip players for the next stage in your career and life. For the new players coming through, it’s crucial for them to understand the resources that the PFA provides.

“The PFA has been a fantastic support mechanism for me while I have been in Spain so it’s important everyone understands what a great support network they provide for all our players, regardless of where they are at in their career.

“The best thing about the format was it provided a comfortable and safe environment to raise any issues we have, share our personal stories, and work together to resolve issues that impact players individually and as a collective.”

“The whole experience has been thoroughly enjoyable and impactful.”

PFA Scholarship Awards Summary

Kimon Taliadoros Scholarship

Recognising the outstanding leadership of PFA co-founder and Champion Kimon Taliadoros, this scholarship is awarded to PFA members who have demonstrated exceptional leadership within or outside the sport and embodied the five values of the PFA.

Tara Andrews
This season Tara graduated with Honours from the University of Newcastle with a degree in civil engineering. She went on to receive a three-year graduate engineer position at the ARTC (Australian Rail Track Corp.) where she completed her work placement last year. Tara did this all this while a regular starter for the Jets W-League team this season and is an outstanding leader on and off the field.

Tarek Elrich

A long serving PFA Delegate, Tarek was regularly involved in the 2019 CBA negotiations, his advocacy work against racism and promotion of inclusion and diversity was regularly on display throughout 2019 and he was also an integral part of the PFA Mental Health campaign for Movember.

Craig Foster Scholarship

Awarded to PFA members who has championed and served the interests of the sport and the players with distinction through their work in the Australian football industry and embodied the five values of the PFA.

Cass Davis

Cass co-captained the Newcastle Jets W-League team this year, while serving as a PFA delegate. Whilst working in a part-time community role with the Jets, she also completed her B Licence and coached the Warner’s Bay NPL team in the off season. In 2019 Cass went back to university to complete her Bachelor of Education. She is an outstanding leader and ambassador for the game.

Jamie Young

Currently undertaking a PhD, Jamie travelled to Nepal in 2019 to undertake charity work in his ambassadorial role with World Youth International. Jamie has also been an outstanding delegate and contributor to the PFA.

Hakeem Al-Araibi

Currently working in with Football Victoria, Hakeem has continued to rebuild his life and is excelling in his role. The scholarship will allow Hakeem to continue to develop into the role so he can make an important contribution to the sport.

PFA Coaching Scholarship

Aimed at ensuring PFA members have access to world class development opportunities, the PFA Football Scholarship is awarded to a PFA Member that has demonstrated a profound commitment in pursuit of coaching excellence.

Glen Moss

Glen completed his AFC B Licence this year, as well as his GK 2 Licence in Canberra. Whilst playing for the Jets, he also served as the NYL/NPL Youth team GK coach and this year was promoted to Assistant Coach. Glen also serves on the PFA Executive, is a NZPFA board member and won the Club Member’s Player of the Year award.

Melissa Maizels

Melissa is the Technical Director and Head Coach at Mount Martha Football Club, she is also the founder of Absolute Football and currently holds an AFC B-Licence as well as being a long serving W-League Player.