Samoa Football > News > Samoa > AUCKLAND – All Whites striker Shane Smeltz and 15-year-old Football Ferns forward Rosie White were the big winners at the New Zealand Football Awards luncheon in Auckland on Tuesday.

AUCKLAND – All Whites striker Shane Smeltz and 15-year-old Football Ferns forward Rosie White were the big winners at the New Zealand Football Awards luncheon in Auckland on Tuesday.

New Zealand’s newest Premiership player Chris Wood was also honoured.
Smeltz picked up Nike Men’s Player of the Year for the second year running, while White stormed to the Nike Young Women’s Player of the Year title with hat-tricks at both the FIFA U-17 and U-20 Women’s World Cups.
And their respective nights were topped by adding international recognition – in the form of an Oceania Football Confederation Player of the Year gong – to their collection.
West Bromich Albion striker Chris Wood claimed the Nike Young Men’s Player of the year award for securing a move to a Premiership academy in 2008 although his subsequent achievement in breaking into the first team squad at the Hawthorns have already made him a front-runner for the 2009 award as well.
The voting process for the NZF awards was opened to a wider panel than ever before with a range of commentators, NZFC and national coaches, regional administrators and former players making their picks for the best performers of 2008.
A departure from the normal November date for the awards meant Smeltz’s three goals in two games against Vanuatu to finish 2007 were considered for 2008 along with four more goals in two World Cup qualifiers against New Caledonia as the All Whites qualified for the 2009 Confederations Cup and a World Cup playoff against the fifth best Asian nation later this year.
Fourteen goals for his former employers Wellington Phoenix over the timeframe also swayed the judges.
Back in New Zealand from his new Gold Coast base, Smeltz paid tribute to his coach at club and country throughout 2008, Ricki Herbert, while looking ahead to an even brighter 2009 with the All Whites.
“I play well when I’m comfortable and when you’re around players that you’re enjoy playing with and a coach that you enjoy playing under it makes a hell of a lot easier,” Smeltz said.
“We’re looking forward to the Confederations Cup, and we want to be hitting our straps for when the big one comes up later in the year with the World Cup playoff and we want to be fully prepared and give it all we’ve got.”
It was a red-letter day for White, as her two World Cup hat tricks within three weeks not only won her NZF’s Young Women’s player of the year, but Oceania Women’s Player of the Year ahead of senior Football Ferns team mates like American-based winger Ali Riley – who collected NZF’s Nike Women’s Player of the Year for her performances at the Beijing Olympics and Peace Queen Cup.
“It is a big day. I didn’t really expect to be honoured like that. It was a big year last year with two World Cups and I guess all the hard work paid off,” said White, who was in danger of missing the events after suffering a serious knee injury in January.
“2008 was pretty unreal. The year didn’t start so well as I was injured for three quarters of it but I made it back for the good bits.”
There was plenty to celebrate for women’s football, as White and her Junior Football Ferns team mates were crowned Team of the Year for coming within seconds of the quarterfinals at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Chile, an effort – along with the Football Ferns showing at the Beijing Olympics – that earned John Herdman Coach of the Year.
“It is a real honour to accept the award on behalf of the staff and players of the Football Ferns and the Junior Ferns,” Herdman said.
“When you get coach of the year, you’re only accepting it on those people’s behalves, and you accepting recognition for something you love doing,”
“It’s satisfying because a lot of hard work goes into these teams, probably even more so with that U-20s team. We had players that didn’t have a lot of time together, so to stay focussed then pull together like they did and get 30s away from reaching that quarterfinal was an achievement in itself, and it’s good to see that bunch of girls get the recognition.”
Meanwhile, Roy Krishna was recognized for his outstanding efforts in the NZFC during the 2008/2009 season during which he scored eight goals.
New Zealand Football Awards 2008
Nike Men’s Player of the Year
Shane Smeltz (Wellington Phoenix / All Whites)
Nike Women’s Player of the Year
Ali Riley (Stanford University / Football Ferns)
Nike Young Men’s Player of the Year (U-20)
Chris Wood (West Bromich Albion)
Nike Young Women’s Player of the Year (U-20)
Rosie White (NZ U-20 / U-17)
Coach of the Year
John Herdman (Football Ferns / U-20 Women)
Team of the Year
Junior Football Ferns (FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup)
Southern Trust NZFC Player of the Year – 2007-08
Ben Sigmund (Auckland City)
Southern Trust NZFC Player of the Year – 2008-09
Roy Krishna (Waitakere United)
NZFC Golden Boot (2007-08)
Gonzalo Nieres (YoungHeart Manawatu) & Graham Little (Team Wellington) – 11 goals
NZFC Golden Boot (2008-09)
Luis Corrales (Team Wellington) – 12 goals
Referee of the Year
Peter O’Leary (Hamilton)
Assistant Referee of the Year
Brent Best (Dunedin)
Story courtesy of NZF Media
For the latest news in NZ Football visit www.nzfootball.co.nz

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