Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) tonight unveiled the 2020 PFA Players’ Awards, celebrating the significant contribution of the game’s established and emerging players.


  • Socceroos and Premier League goalkeeper Mat Ryan voted by his peers as the PFA Men’s Footballer of the Year for second consecutive year
  • Arsenal Women and Matildas defender Steph Catley named PFA Women’s Footballer of the Year for the first time
  • Catley’s national teammate and Olympique Lyonnais Féminin’s Ellie Carpenter wins PFA Women’s Young Footballer of the Year 
  • Former Wellington Phoenix and New Zealand international Liberato Cacace wins PFA Harry Kewell Medal

The 2020 PFA Players’ Awards were voted on by the PFA membership and considered the performances of PFA members during the 2019/20 season. The Awards are proudly supported by PFA Major Partner LUCRF Super.

In the absence of a physical awards event, the PFA partnered with False Nine to engage local and global designers to produce illustrations of each of the winners, helping to celebrate the award winners and promote the game’s diverse football culture via digital platforms.

PFA President Alex Wilkinson said: “On behalf of all of our members and the PFA Executive, I would like to congratulate each of the deserving winners and acknowledge the calibre of the nominees. 

“Last season was unique in many ways, so I think it’s important to acknowledge and celebrate the extraordinary achievements and efforts of our members on the Australian and global stage during a period like no other.” 

Ryan, a previous winner in 2019 and in 2015, established himself as Brighton and Hove Albion’s first-choice goalkeeper, playing a critical role in securing the Seagull’s fourth season in the Premier League.  Australia’s sole English Premier League representative, the shot-stopper also captained the Socceroos in vital 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifying wins over Taiwan and Jordan.

Ryan said: “It’s always the most prestigious one when you’re voted by fellow colleagues you’re rubbing shoulders with; for them to acknowledge and recognise your contribution and to Australian football, it’s a very humbling feeling.”

Former A-League midfielder and now creative director at Local FCChad Gibson, helped to bring Ryan’s award to life digitally. Local FC have led dozens of creative projects highlighting Australian football stories at home and abroad. 

A role model for Melbourne City FC, Catley secured a Premiers Plate-Championship double in the W-League, leading by example and scoring crucial goals throughout the 2019/20 campaign, including the Grand Final decider over Sydney FC. 

Catley said: “It’s an absolutely incredible feeling and very unexpected, especially being nominated alongside Sam [Kerr] and Emily [Van Egmond] who have both had incredible seasons.  It’s very humbling and there’s no better award then being recognised by your teammates; that definitely hits home and it’s a proud moment for me for sure.”

Lola Beltrán, a Spanish illustrator who has worked with Audi, FIFA, Universal Music and global football brand COPA90, designed Catley in her Matildas kit, with a flaming ball featuring Arsenal insignia – a nod to Catley’s post-season move to the FA Women’s Super League. Beltrán’s work is influenced by American and Japanese comics, 80-90’s cartoons and pop culture.

Catley’s national and club teammate at City, Carpenter, was recognised by her peers for her athletic performances in the W-League and for the Matildas, with PFA members voting her as the winner of the PFA Young Footballer of the Year.

Carpenter enjoyed a stellar W-League season at Melbourne City FC and backed up her form with consistent performances in the green and gold when on duty with the Matildas.

Carpenter said: “I’m so happy to win the PFA Young Women’s footballer of the year award. I have had such a great time playing football over the past 12 months and have been fortunate enough to be supported by my very talented teammates.” 

Freelance illustrator Hannah Carroll’s design shows Carpenter in full-flight for the Matildas, representative of the form that earned her a high-profile move to Olympique Lyonnais Féminin for the 2020/21 season. Carroll is a self-taught designer and illustrator who has worked with Adidas, BBC Sport, BT Sport, Bundesliga, Premier League and The English FA.

Former Wellington Phoenix left back Cacace was voted by the PFA membership as the PFA Harry Kewell medallist, edging out nominees Cameron Devlin and Riley McGree. Cacace was acknowledged by his peers following an impressive campaign with the Phoenix, which earned him a position in the PFA’s A-League Team of the Season.

Cacace said: “It’s an honour to receive this medal. I remember watching Harry Kewell and to be presented this award is phenomenal and I’m truly blessed. To be recognised by my peers, the fellow players in the competition, is a great privilege.”

Victorian-based graphic designer Sam Alsop from Cornerstore Creative, who works with the PFA on a range of design projects, depicted Cacace in a powerful silhouette.