Ryan and Ikonomidis unveiled as PFA major award winners

Caltex Socceroos Mathew Ryan and Chris Ikonomidis have been unveiled as the Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) major award winners for 2019.

Brighton and Hove Albion star Ryan was named Men’s Footballer of the Year during an intimate player-led presentation at Caltex Socceroos team dinner on Monday night.

It was the 27-year-old’s second Footballer of the Year medal, having previously been earned the 2015 accolade on the back of his sterling form with Belgian heavyweights Club Brugge.

Ryan collected the award from 2012 winner and former Caltex Socceroo Brett Holman shortly after touching down in Canberra, following Brighton’s 3-0 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Saturday night (AEDT).

After moving to the East Sussex-based Albion in June 2017, Ryan has established himself as one of the top gloveman in England, and helped the Seagulls secure their Premier League status again last season.

Ryan edged out fellow nominees Aaron Mooy (Brighton and Hove Albion), Danny Vukovic (Genk), Roy Krishna (Wellington Phoenix) and Isaias (Adelaide United) to the prize.

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Mooy, Ryan star as Brighton stun Tottenham

(L-R) Matt McKay, Mat Ryan, Brett Holman
(L-R) Matt McKay, Mat Ryan, Brett Holman


“To accept the award in front of my teammates was a very proud moment and something I will cherish,” Ryan said.

“It’s a nice bit of recognition of all the hard work and dedication that you put in. I’m obviously living the dream and doing the best that I can and it’s nice to be recognised by my peers for the contribution I can make as a footballer to the country and domestically with Brighton as well.”

Perth Glory star Chris Ikonomidis was named the Harry Kewell Medal winner, an award recognising the outstanding achievement of a U-23 footballer playing overseas, or in the Hyundai A-League.

Ikonomidis scored nine goals and tallied five assists in the Hyundai A-League last season, winning the competition’s Young Footballer of the Year award, and helping Perth clinch their first Premiers Plate. He also represented the Caltex Socceroos at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup.

The 24-year-old was awarded the medal by Perth-based Caltex Socceroo Stan Lazaridis.

“To have this kind of recognition from my peers is special and for me; it’s the highest honour when players you play against give you that award,” Ikonomidis said.

“It’s also special winning an award with Harry Kewell’s name on it. He was an idol of mine growing up and a reason I wanted to become a footballer.

Ikonomidis
Chris Ikonomidis with the Harry Kewell Medal

“This award is special because it’s voted on by people who know football at the professional level and people who I have played with and against.”

“To have this kind of recognition from my peers is special and for me; it’s the highest honour when players you play against give you that award,” Ikonomidis said.

“It’s also special winning an award with Harry Kewell’s name on it. He was an idol of mine growing up and a reason I wanted to become a footballer.

“This award is special because it’s voted on by people who know football at the professional level and people who I have played with and against.”


Ikonomidis beat out strong competition for the PFA Harry Kewell Medal from nominees Awer Mabil (FC Midtjylland), Dylan Wenzel-Halls (Brisbane Roar) and Sarpreet Singh (Wellington Phoenix). 

Alongside Ryan and Ikonomidis, a new PFA and FFA award initiative – the Dylan Tombides Medal – was presented to Dylan’s father, Jim Tombides, by Matt McKay.

Following discussions between the Dylan Tombides foundation - DT38 – FFA and the PFA, the best player from the Joeys (U17s), Young Socceroos (U20s) and Olyroos (U23s) will be awarded the Dylan Tombides Australian Youth Player of the Year Medal. The winner of the new award will be announced this year.

Jim Tombides travelled to Australia from England specifically to speak to the Caltex Socceroos about the award and how it allows Dylan’s legacy to live on, after the Australian youth international tragically passed away at the age of 20 from testicular cancer in 2014.

Andrew Redmayne, Rhyan Grant, Brandon Borrello, Apostolos Giannou and Ajdin Hrustic were also presented with Caltex Socceroos caps on the night.

Socceroos
Redmayne, Grant, Borrello, Giannou and Hrustic