Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) will grant its highest honour, the Alex Tobin Medal, to Matildas legend Cheryl Salisbury at the 2017 PFA Players’ Awards in Newcastle on Sunday, 17 September.

Salisbury, a defender who earned an Australian record 151 international caps between 1994 and 2009, creates history as the first woman to be bestowed the PFA’s most prestigious prize.

“It’s no coincidence that the success and excitement surrounding the current women’s national team has come directly after Cheryl’s involvement with the game,” said PFA President Alex Wilkinson.

“Cheryl’s dedication and sacrifice, at a time when women’s football wasn’t given the respect it deserves, has left an immeasurable impact on the game and its players.

“Her journey from Lambton juniors in Newcastle to representing Australia more times than any other player – male or female – is absolutely deserving of recognition alongside the other great feats of our game’s most outstanding contributors.”

Salisbury started Australia’s first ever FIFA Women’s World Cup match in June 1995 and would go on to appear at subsequent tournaments in 1999, 2003 and 2007; the latter two as captain.

In 2000, Salisbury scored Australia’s first ever Women’s Football goal at an Olympic Games and four years later captained the Matildas to a quarter final appearance in Greece.

“When I found out about it, it was a really surreal feeling. It’s many a time I’ve sat in those crowds and watched somebody else receive those awards, and to be the first woman as well, it an amazing achievement after such a huge career that I’ve had,” said Salisbury.

“To now have an award, with such great other people that have received this award as well, it’s a very proud moment, and it’s an incredible feeling to be the first female up there as well.”

The PFA Players’ Awards, supported by major partner LUCRF Super, was inaugurated in 2008 and recognises excellence amongst Australia’s professional football community.

The Alex Tobin Medal was established to recognise Australian footballers that have demonstrated leadership, achievement as a player, commitment to their fellow professionals and service and dedication to the game.

The 2017 PFA Players’ Awards will take place at the Merewether Surfhouse on Sunday, 17 September. For more information or ticket inquiries please email

Cheryl Salisbury
Date of Birth; 8 March 1974, Newcastle, Australia
Position; Defender
Clubs; Panasonic Bambina (Japan), Takarazuka Bunnys (Japan), Memphis Mercury (United States), New York Power (United States), Newcastle Jets
Matildas Honours; 151 ‘A’ international appearances (most capped Matildas player of all-time), 38 ‘A’ international goals (3rd most all-time Matildas goals), appearances at four FIFA Women’s World Cup’s (1995, 1999, 2003 & 2007), appearances at two Olympic Games (2000 & 2004).

Alex Tobin Medal Recipients
2016 – Harry Kewell
2014 – Mark Schwarzer
2012 – Frank Farina
2011 – Mark Viduka
2009 – Craig Johnston
2008 – Johnny Warren & Joe Marston