Joeys striker Noah Botic has been named as the first player to receive the Dylan Tombides Medal.
The 17-year-old Australian youth international was presented with the award in Brazil, as the Joeys prepared for today’s 10am (AEDT) U17 World Cup Round of 16 match against France.
The Medal, which was introduced through a joint PFA and FFA initiative in August, is awarded to a player selected from the Under 17 (Joeys), Under 20 (Young Socceroos) and Under 23 teams.
It is presented to the player who exemplifies the standards, commitment and courage in representing Australia at youth international level, honouring the memory of Dylan Tombides.
The award reflects the progress of Botic who signed a two-year scholarship contract with German Bundesliga outfit TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in August, following trials at Manchester United and interest from Bayern Munich and Everton.
Botic has so far contributed to an outstanding campaign at the U17 World Cup in Brazil, scoring four in the tournament, including a brace in a 2-1 win over Nigeria that secured Australia’s passage to the Round of 16.
Botic said he was thrilled by the honour: “It feels amazing, I couldn’t be happier,
“It tells me that I am working hard constantly on and off the pitch and confirms that I’m on the right track to become a professional footballer.
“To see that [Joeys Head Coach] Trevor Morgan and the PFA have picked me to win this award has made me feel excited about what is still to come in the future.
“After Trevor mentioned Dylan, it’s touched me a bit about his story and him playing for a young Australian side and him having that sort of difficulty in his life wasn’t easy, so he has inspired me.”
The Australian youth international tragically passed away at the age of 20 from testicular cancer in 2014, and in October, Dylan’s father Jim spoke to the Socceroos about the award and how it allows Dylan’s legacy to live on.
Joeys head coach Trevor Morgan added: “We are very proud that a player from this Joeys team was selected as the first recipient of the Dylan Tombides Medal.
“The players in this squad work hard on a culture of excellence. Noah has always been an outstanding contributor and example to others as he shows respect, humility, professionalism and self-discipline.
“On top of this his match performances have been crucial to success. In the AFC U16 Championships he was joint top scorer without playing the Final and here at the World Cup has scored four goals in the group stage.
“It’s nice for Noah being a striker to win this special Award, named after a young Aussie striker with tremendous potential who was taken from us way too early."