Jada Whyman becomes inaugural recipient of the rebel Role Model Award

Jada Whyman from the Western Sydney Wanderers FC was named the inaugural recipient of the rebel Role Model Award when the rebel Female Football Week National Award Winners were announced at a breakfast function held at Luminare in Melbourne this morning.

The rebel Role Model Award is an Award that recognises excellence both on and off the pitch. The selected player's influence on the game extends beyond her professional playing capacities, with a focus on community. This player embodies what it takes to be a professional footballer; someone who is not only dedicated on the pitch, but also supports and encourages growth of the game at all levels within the community. The winner is selected based on good sportsmanship and attitude, must have played for a Westfield W-League Club during the 2017/18 season and must be under 21 at the start of the season.

Jada, an 18 year old goalkeeper for the Wanderers, was a worthy recipient of the rebel Role Model award. Having not only played in 11 of her team's 14 matches in the Westfield W-League 2017/18 Season, she was also a member of the Westfield Young Matildas that represented Australia at the 2017 AFC U-19 Women’s Championship in Nanjing, China. Off the field Jada has been a tireless ambassador for the Western Sydney Wanderers FC conducting over thirty community and media appearances this season alone. In addition to being the face of the club's marketing campaign, Jada is a role model and mentor for indigenous footballers in her local area and around the country.

Jada Whyman
Jada Whyman

One of the highlights of the event was the keynote address by Erica Berchtold, the Managing Director of rebel, who is one of the five official spokespeople for the rebel Female Football Week, who drew upon her own personal experiences to inspire the next generation of Female Footballers, Referees and Administrators.

Speaking shortly after giving her address, Erica Berchtold was thrilled to be a part of rebel Female Football Week and congratulated Jada Whyman for claiming the rebel Role Model Award.

"Rebel is proud to be working with the FFA in launching the new rebel Role Model Award which forms part of rebel's commitment to supporting up-and-coming talent as part of our 'Rebel Women' program," said Berchtold

"I am pleased to congratulate Jada on winning the rebel Role Model Award. She has shown considerable promise in her career both on and off the field and has proven to be a deserving winner. We look to seeing more great things from her in the future," concluded Berchtold.

In addition to the rebel Role Model, all other rebel Female Football Week National Awards were also announced this morning.

In the Member Federation Category, the Female Player of the Year was Liana Cook from Women's U-19 NTC team within Football West, the Female Coach of the Year Emma Zaymund from the Casuarina Football Club within Football Federation Northern Territory, the Female Administrator of the Year was Linda Cerone from the Nepean Football Association within Football NSW, the Female Referee of the Year was Georgia Ghirardello from Capital Football and the Male Champion of the Year Leonard Allen from Garden Suburb FC within Northern NSW Football.

In the Hyundai A-League/Westfield W-League Category the Female Coach of the Year was Kat Smith from Melbourne Victory, the Female Administrator of the Year Lucy Kennedy from Melbourne City FC, the Female Fan of the Year was Lucy Topp from Canberra United, and The Male Champion of the Year was Wally Van Gool from the Western Sydney Wanderers FC.

The objective of the rebel Female Football Week this year is to promote discussion around gender equality and to amplify new and existing female specific programs to ensure that barriers for girls and women to get involved in football are removed.

All levels of the game will be involved in promoting what has become an annual nationwide initiative.

Member Federations, associations and clubs will be activating collaboratively with Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League Clubs to deliver a variety of grassroots initiatives and match day activations.

Activities and events to be held throughout rebel Female Football Week will include activations at Hyundai A-League Round 22 matches, Women in Leadership workshops, Women and Girls mentor programs, coaching and refereeing courses, ALDI Miniroos for Girls Kick-off programs, plus a host of 'meet and greet' signing opportunities with Westfield W-League players.

rebel Female Football Week National Awards

Member Federation Category

Female Player of the Year: Liana Cook - Women’s U-19 NTC team, Football West

Liana has been recognised for her performances on the field and the sacrifices she has had to make to chase her dream of becoming a professional footballer.

Liana's journey first began in regional Esperance, where at the age of five she was dragged along to a friend's training session. She fell in love immediately but explained that she couldn't join a club until the age of six. 

Liana then played for Esperance Soccer Association from the ages of six to 13 and regularly competed in the Football West run Country Week. Country week is a regional championship held in Perth aimed at celebrating regional football and identifying talented players from rural areas.  

Liana was 11 years of age when she was identified and asked to attend country camp and was then selected to travel to Singapore as a part of the state regional team in both 2011 and 2013. 

Following her success in the state regional team Liana was encouraged by her parents to trial for John Curtin College of the Arts. When offered a position, Liana was excited but hesitant at the prospect. She chose to accept the invitation but spoke of the internal battles in making the choice to leave Esperance. 

Liana joined the National Training Centre Program when she was 14 years of age and has played as a part of representative teams ever since. Liana's efforts recently paid off with selection in the All-Stars team at the 2018 NTC Challenge. 

From starting out as the youngest player to now captaining the NTC team, Liana has transitioned from looking up to older players as role models to becoming a role model herself. 

Liana Cook
Liana Cook

Female Coach of the Year:  Emma Zaymund - Casuarina Football Club, Football Federation NT

Emma started playing football when she was 9 years old with the Casuarina Football Club.

She has played in numerous senior teams, international tournaments, and world games.

Last year Emma first began coaching MiniRoos - her son's under 6s team. 

With her background in Early childhood, this was something she truly enjoyed. It was her first taste at helping children learn the wonder of the beautiful game. 

Emma is currently a member of FFNT WAGAC and she is also employed as an ALDI MiniRoos Coach delivering programs at schools. She is currently the program coordinator for the FFNT ALDI MiniRoos Full All Girls Program. 

"The smiles on the children's faces is priceless and spurs my spirit to only coach, nurture and guide further into the future. I play and I coach football so that other female footballers get the opportunities available to them, opportunities I never had. My vision is this, I want women, ladies, girls, mothers, sisters, aunties and grandmothers to know that there is a place for them in the beautiful game and that their future is bright!" - Emma Zaymund

Emma Zaymund
Emma Zaymund

Female Administrator of the Year: Linda Cerone - Nepean Football Association, Football NSW

Over many years Linda has served her local club as a volunteer and the Association as a well-respected employee. 

The scope of Linda's involvement has extended to State and National involvement in our game.

Having started out as the secretary of her local club, Bligh Park SC, in 1993, Linda became the General Manager of the Nepean Football Association in 1998 and has held that position to this day. 

In 2017 Linda participated in the Chief Executive Women's program and was on the panel for the Women in Football Forum.

Currently Linda is the Deputy Chair of the Football NSW Association Standing Committee and sits on the Steering Committee for the development of the new entity - Nepean Referees Group and has a special interest in developing Female Referees within the Nepean area.

Linda's strong working relationships with Local Councils have led to safe and sustainable facilities within the Penrith, Hawksbury, Blue Mountain, Wollondilly Areas.

Linda also provides support to local club volunteers by conducting road shows and information nights within their local areas. 

On top of everything, Linda also finds time to volunteer for Western Sydney Wanderers Football Club.

Linda Cerone
Linda Cerone

Female Referee of the Year: Georgia Ghirardello - Capital Football

Referee. Mentor. Advocate. Georgia Ghirardello has been a part of the Capital Football family since 2008, becoming a referee in 2009. Her hard work and dedication during these years were rewarded by her appointment to the 2017 Capital Football men's NPL U20 grand final and a strong debut season as an assistant referee in the Westfield W-League. 

Georgia has also volunteered to mentor young female referees, including the 2017 Kanga Cup where she was a live-in mentor for the female match officials. Georgia also advocates for her fellow referees as a member of the Referee Standing Advisory Committee. 

Georgia Ghirardello
Georgia Ghirardello

The Male Champion of the Year: Leonard Allen - Garden Suburb FC, Northern NSW Football

Leonard's dedication to our great game is an inspiration. He fulfils the roles of President and Groundsman at Garden Suburb FC and somehow finds time to play in an Over 35s team and coach an ALDI MiniRoos Girls Under 11 team. His dedication to growing and improving participation opportunities for females at Garden Suburb.

Leonard has worked tirelessly to increase the number of teams from All Age to ALDI MiniRoos and promoting the club's female-only program. He was also instrumental in the establishment of a Women's Coordinator/Vice President on Garden Suburb's committee.

Leonard's passion stemmed from the acknowledgement that the sport needed to better engage and enhance participation opportunities for females to enjoy the game. 

Leonard implemented research among female teams to find out how the club could improve their experience. The research highlighted that the club needed to address the match day experience and provide females with better access to facilities and equipment.

This became Leonard's focus and through his commitment and dedication the club has grown across all age groups.

After changing something as little as having facilities accessible and female friendly, Leonard says within the club he has "seen girls get involved in Football that previously hadn't played an organised sport."

Leonard Allen
Leonard Allen

Hyundai A-League/Westfield W-League Category

Female Coach of the Year: Kat Smith - Melbourne Victory FC

Kat Smith has played an important role in Melbourne Victory's Westfield W-League coaching team since the 2013/14 season – the last time Victory won the Championship.

Smith's contribution to the game is profound. She juggles her assistant coach role at Melbourne Victory with the head coach role at National Premier League side Galaxy United and an analyst/assistant coach role with the Westfield Junior Matildas, Australia's U17 National Team.

Kat Smith
Kat Smith

The Female Administrator of the Year: Lucy Kennedy - Melbourne City FC

Keeping the players fit and healthy is a key priority for any sporting club and for Melbourne City FC's Westfield W-League Performance Manager Lucy Kennedy, it is a role she has performed with excellence over the past two seasons. 

After joining City in 2016, Lucy has played an integral role in helping the Club secure back-to-back Westfield W-League Championships as a member of the team's medical staff, with her meticulous approach to injury prevention and match preparation helping the Club create history in Women's football for the second year running. 

This was achieved by implementing an individualised approach to treatment, where Lucy develops tailored plans for injured players across the Club's Women's and Youth teams, which addresses their respective workload, physical needs and any treatment they may require. 

Lucy also has international experience under her belt after travelling to China as the Club's Head Physiotherapist for the Suning Cup Youth Tournament, where she helped City's next generation of young stars overcome a gruelling schedule and searing temperatures to finish in third place behind European giants Anderlecht and Inter Milan.

Lucy Kennedy
Lucy Kennedy

Female Fan of the Year: Lucy Topp - Canberra United

Born and bred Canberran Lucy Topp has been a Canberra United member since the inception of the Westfield W-League. Now a decade on, Lucy's passion for her favourite team has not suffered in the slightest, and she can always be found in the stands at McKellar, and at the post-game and member functions throughout the season. 

Throughout all the ups and downs that come with being a foundation team, Lucy has always been on hand to offer encouragement to the team and vocalise her support, making her a dedicated fan, and more importantly a loyal member of the Canberra United family.

Lucy Topp
Lucy Topp

The Male Champion of the Year: Wally Van Gool - Western Sydney Wanderers FC

Wally has been with the Western Sydney Wanderers since day one and has displayed immense passion for ensuring the women's game is given the same respect as the men's.

He holds roles as a volunteer with both the Westfield W-League and Hyundai A-League teams and has ensured that as the leader of the volunteer group they too share his passion for growing female football.

He has encouraged the crew to make signs, take photos with the players, ask for autographs and has been instrumental in delivering a quality product for the players in our squad and provides a warm and friendly environment for the teams – both home and away.

In addition, Wally has a role as a female football coach in his local Association, Macarthur and has encouraged girls and women of all ages to take up football.

His enthusiasm and passion to grow the game has definitely helped increase the number of girls and women playing football. 

Wally Van Gool
Wally Van Gool

rebel Role Model Award: Jada Whyman - Western Sydney Wanderers FC

Jada, an 18-year-old goalkeeper for the Wanderers, was a worthy recipient of the rebel Role Model award. Having not only played in 11 of her teams 14 matches in the Westfield W-League 2017/18 season, she was also a member of the Westfield Young Matildas that represented Australia at the 2017 AFC U-19 Women's Championship in Nanjing, China. 

Off the field Jada has been a tireless ambassador for the Western Sydney Wanderers FC conducting over thirty community and media appearances this season alone. In addition to being the face of the club's marketing campaign, Jada is a role model and mentor for indigenous footballers in her local area and around the country.

Jada Whyman
Jada Whyman