Brisbane Roar youngster Tommy Oar has been chosen ahead of some of the nation’s best, young footballing talent to win the inaugural National Australia Bank (NAB) Young Footballer of the Year Award.
Voted by a panel of experts, including Qantas Young Socceroos Head Coach Jan Versleijen, Qantas Socceroos Coach Pim Verbeek and Assistant Coach Graham Arnold, the judges met monthly throughout season (and at years end) to adjudicate on the best performed U21 players in the competition.
A unanimous choice with the judging panel, Oar withstood the challenge of the Hyundai A-league-s best young talent including Kofi Danning (Sydney FC), Leigh Broxham (Melbourne Victory), Rostyn Griffiths (Nth Qld Fury), Ben Kantarovski (Newcastle Jets) and Mathew Leckie (Adelaide United).
Accepting his prize amongst the glitz and glamour of the league-s Awards ceremony in Sydney, Oar said he was surprised but honoured to be named the best young footballer in the country.
“I don-t know really what to say … I-m just really happy,” the 18 year-old said.
“I think any one (of the nominees) could have won it really … there were people who weren-t nominated that could have probably won it.
“(But) I-m pretty stoked at the moment.”
Oar has every reason to be happy having also been presented with a $10,000 personal investment portfolio courtesy of National Australia Bank for taking out the title.
The award caps off a remarkable season for the young winger which has included cementing a Roar first team position, playing at the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt and earning a Socceroos call-up.
However, a humble Oar refused to be swept away by the accolades and awards, happy just to see his hard work on the field beginning to pay dividends.
“I think things are happening pretty quickly,” Oar said. “But it-s always good to get recognition for things like this.
“I wasn-t expecting it by any means but it is good to win (the award).”
Roar coach Ange Postecoglou, an onlooker at the ceremony, said Oar richly deserved an award ‘designed to unearth the future stars of the game-.
“He-s had a fantastic year … and been a fantastic performer for us,” Postecoglou said.
“In a difficult season for the club, the youngsters have stood up and Tommy was at the forefront of that with Socceroos selection.”
“He fully deserves his win.”
Postecoglou expected Oar-s win to push the former Palm Beach junior – and other Roar youngster-s – onto bigger and better things.
“(The award) indicates if you give young players an opportunity, they can take their game to the next level,” Postecoglou said.
“And I think it will encourage (Oar) to work even harder.”
As part of its commitment to grassroots football and to acknowledge the vital role junior football clubs play in the development of today-s young stars, NAB presented the junior clubs of each NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominee with a $3000 equipment pack during the season.
In Oar-s case, Palm Beach Soccer Club were the recipients of the equipment pack.