Western United’s imposing Swiss defender Leo Lacroix has earned the recognition of his peers after an impressive start to the A-League Men’s campaign.

The centre-back edged out Wellington Phoenix’s English striker Gary Hooper and Melbourne City FC’s forward Andrew Nabbout to claim the Austraffic PFA Player of the Month Award for November, after starring in his first two matches.

Despite losing its opener against Melbourne Victory, United bounced back to claim a 1-0 win over Perth Glory and a clean sheet in Round 2. 

Across both games, Lacroix marshalled the Western defence with poise and calmness.

Having joined Western United in August, Lacroix said he was delighted to have made an immediate impact for his new club in Australia.

“I’m very happy with this award and the recognition of the players,” Lacroix told pfa.net.au 

“I am happy to be recognised for the award, but for me, the team’s performance is more important. I try to do my job to help my teammates; good defending, good passing, sacrifice myself to defend for my teammates, and if I can score, I will try to score.

“So I will try now to improve more, to be better and enjoy the League and the club and try to achieve something good this year.

“I want to say thank you to the other players who voted, my family, the club and I will try to do my best every game.”

A new face in the A-League Men’s competition for the 2021/22 season, Lacroix joined Western United on a one-year deal in the pre-season, with the 29-year-old central defender signing from Swiss side FC Sion.

Having played in the European Champions League and the Europa League, representing the Swiss outfit FC Basel, French side Saint-Etienne and German team Hamburg, Lacroix said he was settling well into life on and off the pitch with Western United.

“It’s very nice, the atmosphere, when you play at AAMI Park, Geelong, against other teams, I’m happy to play games and to train hard every day,” Lacroix said.

“The Australian people are very good, very professional. Honestly, I’m very happy.

“When you play in Europe, you can easily say Australia is a lower level.

“But before I came I spoke many times with [Alessandro] Diamanti and he told me ‘Leo, you have to be ready to play here because the intensity is very hard’. So I watched a few games and then playing here, it’s true, I run more here than in Europe!”

About Austraffic

Founded in 1983 (as Australasian Traffic Surveys), Austraffic has undertaken thousands of traffic, transport and pedestrian studies in all states and territories of Australia and New Zealand. Austraffic’s systems and expertise delivers quality data that meets the customer’s needs. Their offices are located throughout Australia, and their traffic engineering and information technology specialists assist customers with the design, analysis and presentation of surveys.