NAB’s Young Footballer of the Year Highlights Future Stars

Football Federation Australia and National Australia Bank today announced details of a new football talent identification program developed to unearth and showcase the future stars of Australian Football, while at the same time providing funding to support the game at the grassroots level.

Football Federation Australia and National Australia Bank today announced details of a new football talent identification program developed to unearth and showcase the future stars of Australian Football, while at the same time providing funding to support the game at the grassroots level.

The NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award will be awarded to the finest U/21 player talent throughout the Hyundai A-League 2009/10 competition. One nominee will be announced per month and all nominees will qualify to be named the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award at the conclusion of the season.

The overall winner will receive a $10,000 personal investment portfolio, a NAB Private Client Manager to assist with a range of banking and financial services, and the inaugural NAB Young Footballer of the Year.

To acknowledge the vital role junior football clubs play in the development of today-s young stars, NAB will also provide a $3,000 equipment pack to the junior club nominated by each of the monthly nominees.

Today-s announcement was made at the Sydney Football Stadium, with an eligible player from each of the Australian-based* Hyundai A-League clubs, as well as young representatives from their nominated junior clubs.

Central Coast defender David D'Apuzzo represented the Mariners at this morning's launch, and already has aspirations to be the inaugural winner.

"It's a great initiative and will give all young players in the Hyundai A-League something to really work toward. Full credit to National Australia Bank and the FFA for coming up with the idea, and with the NAB's backing it really gives us younger guys something to look forward to.

"Obviously the money would be nice but to win something like that would mean you really earned it, and the fact NAB are putting back into the grassroots is great too," said D'Apuzzo.

Also in attendance was Qantas Socceroo, Mile Sterjovski who went through the football pathway, from junior football to the National Soccer League before becoming a senior Australian squad member and playing internationally at the game-s pinnacle, the FIFA World Cup.

Head of Hyundai A-League, Archie Fraser, said NAB-s commitment to grassroots football created exciting prospects for the ongoing development of the game.

"We are very excited to launch this accolade with the support of NAB," said Mr Fraser.

"We believe the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award format creates a brilliant way to recognise and reward the outstanding young talent that will be on display throughout the upcoming season.

"These impressive young players are the future face of Australian Football and we are excited about watching them evolve in the years to come. Now, with thanks to the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award, we will be given the opportunity to track their progress and recognise the contribution they make to our game," added Mr Fraser.

Spiro Pappas, Executive General Manager of NAB-s Institutional Bank said NAB is delighted to be building upon its FFA partnership with the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award while at the same time offering assistance to the game at a grassroots level.

"NAB is pleased to be assisting with the identification of the next generation of Australian Football stars. We are proud to support this initiative and the young players in the competition as they strive to reach their potential," said Mr Pappas.

"We are really excited to launch the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award, particularly after the enormous success of our AFL talent identification program; the NAB AFL Rising Star Award. The NAB AFL Rising Star Award has grown to become one of the most respected accolades of the game and I-ve no doubt we will achieve the same with football as we have with AFL," said Mr Pappas.

Under the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award format, an expert judging panel will choose a monthly winner. Monthly nominees will be eligible to be crowned Australia-s best performed young player of the year. Australian players under the age of 21 at the commencement of the season are eligible to win the NAB Emerging Star.