New awards to be named in honour of Perth duo

There was a distinct WA flavour to this week's announcement by Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) regarding the introduction of two new awards to recognise players representing Australia’s junior national teams .

The awards will be named after two players who exemplify the standards, commitment and courage in representing Australia at youth international level in Dylan Tombides and Collette McCallum.

Born and bred in Perth, Tombides joined English Premier League side West Ham United in 2010 and represented Australia at Under-17 and Under-23 level before tragically losing his life to testicular cancer aged just 20.

DT38 Australia, part of the foundation set up in his honour to fundraise and increase awareness of testicular, is one of Glory's official charity partners.

McCallum, meanwhile, remains one of Glory's greatest ever Westfield W-League players having chalked up over 50 appearances in purple and skippered the club in the 2014 Grand Final.

Collette McCallum
McCallum at the 2014 Westfield W-League Grand Final

The gifted midfielder also represented the Matildas on 81 occasions and was part of the side that took out the AFC Women's Asian Cup in 2010.

FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said the awards would celebrate the overall conduct and commitment of a player representing an Australian junior team that aligns with and amplifies the values of Australian football.

"Dylan Tombides was a superb talent whose performances for Australia at youth level caught the attention of the Australian football community," he said.

"He was tragically lost to cancer and his name will forever be associated with immense talent, sacrifice and inspiration.

"Collette was also an incredibly talented young footballer who set the on-field standards that we now see from today’s Matildas.

"Testament to this is that no footballer, outside of our current crop of emerging players, has represented Australia more times at youth international level."

PFA Chief Executive John Didulica confirmed that the Dylan Tombides Medal will be inaugurated and awarded annually to recognise an Australian male footballer as selected from the Under-17 (Joeys), Under-20 (Young Socceroos) and Under-23 (Olyroos) teams.

Similarly, the Collette McCallum Medal will be awarded to the best female player from the Under-17 (Westfield Junior Matildas) and Under-20 (Westfield Young Matildas) teams.

Dylan’s mother, Tracey Tombides, said the naming of the award was a tremendous honour for all of the family.

"To have Dylan recognised by Australian Football for his devotion and talent in the sport he truly lived for is a great privilege," she commented.

"We are hugely thankful to the FFA and PFA for making this happen.

"Dylan lived for football, displaying a professionalism and dedication that carried him through his toughest days.

"To represent his country at the highest level was his ultimate ambition.  

"Having to make a choice to play for England or Australia early on in his career was one of the easiest decisions he ever had to make. He loved pulling on that Australian shirt."

It is proposed that each year, the Head Coaches of each national team will nominate two stand-out players and a panel of former players will recommend which player should be considered for the medal.

The recommended players will be presented to FFA’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Executive of the PFA for ratification.

The inaugural Tombides and McCallum honours will be awarded at the PFA’s annual awards event, the Alex Tobin Medal, later this year.

For more information about DT38 Australia, click HERE.

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