Subway Socceroo and Football Australia Legacy ’23 Ambassador, Awer Mabil, has capped off a memorable 12-months by being named the 2023 Young Australian of the Year during the Australian of the Year Awards presented by Prime Minister The Hon. Anthony Albanese MP this evening at Parliament House in Canberra.
Mabil, also the recipient of the 2023 South Australia Young Australian of the Year award, has been recognised for his work as co-founder of the not-for-profit organisation, Barefoot to Boots, which aims for better health, education, policies, and gender equality for refugees.
The 27-year old’s story is one of courage and inspiration. Mabil grew up in a Kenyan refugee camp after his family fled civil war in Sudan, before coming to Australia aged 10. Upon reaching his dream of playing for the Australian men’s national football team, his sister tragically died in a car accident in 2019.
The hugely popular and naturally positive character uses his platform as a member of the Australian men’s national football team to enrich and better the lives of others through his charity work.
Mabil follows in the footsteps of CommBank Matildas’ captain, Sam Kerr, who was the recipient of the same Award in 2018, for services to sport and her work advocating for women’s sports.
The recognition of both Mabil and Kerr – along with former Socceroo captain Craig Foster who was nominated for 2023 Australian of the Year – reflects the influential role that football, and footballers play in Australian society.
Speaking from the Awards Ceremony in Canberra, Football Australia CEO James Johnson congratulated Mabil on his richly deserved accolade.