Football Australia today congratulated Westfield Matildas defender Ellie Carpenter for being named ‘Asia’s Choice – Best Women’s Player of 2020’.
The award, run by the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), was determined by a combination of fan votes (60 per cent) and an expert media panel (40 per cent), culminating in a combined, points-based total for each shortlisted player.
Carpenter, 20, edged out her Olympique Lyonnais club teammate, Saki Kumagai of Japan, and national team colleagues Caitlin Foord (Arsenal FC) and Sam Kerr (Chelsea FC) to win the award, which recognises female players from AFC Member Associations for their performances for club and country in the 2020 calendar year.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, congratulated Carpenter on her recognition, and said the acknowledgement of several Westfield Matildas on the shortlist was a positive for Australian football.
“Ellie enjoyed a tremendous 2020, playing a key role in the Westfield Matildas’ successful qualification for Tokyo early in the year and helping Melbourne City claim the Westfield W-League Premiership and Championship,” Johnson said. “She then signed for arguably the biggest club in women’s football, Olympique Lyonnais in France, where she was in the squad for their UEFA Women’s Champions League success.”
“This honour from AFC adds to Ellie’s already impressive CV, however it is exciting for Australia to appreciate that she is only 20-years-old, with so much football for both club and country ahead of her. Recognition of three elite Australian female footballers on AFC’s shortlist is tremendous for our game, as it helps to elevate even further the Westfield Matildas in the national and continental football consciousness and inspires young Australians.”
Carpenter played the full 90 minutes for Olympique Lyonnais on the weekend as her club side secured a 5-0 win away to Paris FC. She tweeted her appreciation to have been recognised by AFC soon after.
“It’s a real honour to be awarded the best in Asia for 2020,” Carpenter wrote. “I’m so proud to represent Australia and Asia on the world stage. This couldn’t have been possible without my teammates, staff and supporters throughout the year.”
Along with Carpenter, Foord, and Kerr, Football Australia recognises Nikita Rukavytsya (Maccabi Haifa) who was shortlisted for the men’s award. The men’s award was won by Korea Republic’s Son Heung-min, with Rukavytsya finishing fourth.