New dad Holman named top Aussie footballer
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Socceroos star Brett Holman has enjoyed three wins in less than a week – although none of them were on the football field.
The 28-year-old midfielder was on Wednesday named Player of the Year by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), just days after the birth of his second child, a baby girl, in the Netherlands.
Holman was recognised for his standout performances with both the Socceroos and his Dutch club AZ Alkmaar.
He polled 270 votes by PFA members to win comfortably over Japan-based striker Alex Brosque (176) and Reading goalkeeper Adam Federici (154).
There was a third piece of good news for the hard-working attacker who was also named the Football Media Association’s (FMA) International Player of the Year for the second year running, capping a fine season which has resulted in him being signed by English Premier League club Aston Villa for 2012/13.
“I’m very honoured to receive both awards. Sorry I couldn’t make it but we’ve just added to our family,” Holman said of his absence from the ceremony in Brisbane.
The new addition also meant he missed out on playing for the Socceroos in their World Cup qualifying matches against Oman and Japan in the past week.
But he impressed in qualification matches late last year, netting the winner in a hard-fought 1-0 win away to Thailand in November.
Holman was also instrumental for his club, scoring five goals in 30 league appearances as AZ finished fourth in the Dutch league.
The accolades continue a remarkable rise for Holman, who was once maligned by fans and pundits but is now a pivotal part of the national team.
He will be hoping to make his mark in the Premier League next season and looms as a crucial part of Australia’s quest to qualify for the 2014 Brazil World Cup.
Holman joins the likes of Mark Schwarzer, Tim Cahill and Matt McKay, who have won the PFA Player of the Year award previously.
Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams was named PFA’s female Player of the Year for her outstanding form with W-League premiers Canberra United.
She was equally impressive in several key matches during Australia’s Olympic qualifiers, said PFA president Simon Colosimo.
Central Coast Mariners goalkeeper Mat Ryan won the Harry Kewell Medal for the most outstanding under-23 player, beating Brisbane Roar’s Mitch Nicholls and Rhys Williams, who plays for Middlesbrough in England.
Caitlin Foord won the women’s FMA award.© AAP 2013
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