Schwarzer…is just the best

Goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has again grabbed the glory at Australian football’s big awards night, scooping two of the three major titles on offer.

Schwarzer, the 38-year-old Fulham and Socceroos keeper who seems to get better with age, was voted player of the year by his peers in Professional Footballers Australia (PFA).

He received 392 votes, just enough to pip 2009’s inaugural winner, Everton star Tim Cahill, who received 385 votes, with Dutch-based Socceroo Brett Holman third on 196.

Schwarzer also received Football Federation Australia’s (FFA) player of the year award for the second year running at a gala dinner in Sydney ahead of Saturday’s friendly against Paraguay.

Cahill, the Everton dynamo who has become Australia’s most influential outfield player, was the pick of football writers from the Football Media Association (FMA).

Schwarzer, who shows no signs of fatigue in a sparkling 17-year Socceroos career, made 10 more appearances for his country in the 2009-10 season, and has now taken his tally of full caps to 80, just seven short of Alex Tobin’s record.

He played every minute of every Australia match at 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa in June.

He was also in superb form for Fulham, making 37 appearances in the Barclays Premier League, five in the FA Cup and 12 in the inaugural Europa League, where he helped lead Fulham to the final against Atletico Madrid.

Cahill’s goal-scoring prowess was phenomenal. He netted seven goals in 10 appearances in the green and gold, and 17 times in 43 matches for his Barclays Premier League side Everton.

He was instrumental in keeping Australia in the hunt for qualifying for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup.

His biggest disappointment was a harsh red card in Australia’s first match against Germany at the World Cup.

But he bounced back to score in Australia’s victory over Serbia in the final group match.

The PFA’s Harry Kewell Medal for Australia’s best under-23 player was awarded to former Melbourne Victory goalkeeper Mitch Langerak, now with German giant Borussia Dortmund.

The inaugural PFA women’s player of the year went to Servet Uzunlar, a star defender for the Matildas in their Asian Cup triumph.

FFA’s young player of the year award went to Tommy Oar, who burst onto the scene with Brisbane Roar, moved overseas to join Utrecht in Holland and was a squad member at the World Cup.

FFA’s top award for female player of the year went to Brisbane Roar star Clare Polkinghorne, who helped Australia win the Women’s Asian Cup for the first time.

Perth Glory’s Sam Kerr was named young female player of the year.

The University of Wollongong Hippos won amateur team of the year and Queensland’s under-14 side Holland Park Hawks won the youth team award.

Victorian Laurelle Sommers was recognised for her dedication to volunteering, and Michelle Castle from Tasmania and Asefa Woldemariam from Western Australia were recognised as the nation’s top amateur coaches.

The men and women in black weren’t forgotten, either, with Patrick Galloway from Tasmania winning referee of the year.

Buford Balony says: What a surprise, imagine if he’d gone to Arsenal.


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