About Optus
Careers Legal & Regulatory Sponsorship Media Centre Corporate Responsibility Network CoverageSingTel & Optus
Optus and Lucas Neill on the lookout for tomorrow’s football stars
08 May 2012

Optus Football Ambassador Lucas Neill, in conjunction with Football Federation Australia (FFA) and Optus, has launched the search for the next generation of football stars through the Optus Small Sided Football Awards.

Now in its second year, the awards program aims to recognise and reward players, coaches and teams participating in Small Sided Football. It follows on from the successful 2011 Awards which returned hundreds of entries from across the country and an outpouring of community support through online votes.

Australian Qantas Socceroos Captain and grassroots football advocate, Lucas Neill said, "Last year we received some outstanding and inspiring entries which makes me really proud to be an ambassador for the Optus Small Sided Football Awards for a second year.

The 2012 Optus Small Sided Football Awards is comprised of four categories, developed in conjunction with Lucas Neill:

Lucas Neill Award Male and Female - recognises two players - a young male player and female player who have not only shown skill on the pitch but also demonstrated a love of the game, learnt new skills and have helped others be their best. They don't have to be the best player, but be someone who respects the referee, their team and the opposition.

Coach of the Year Award - recognises a really top coach. We're not looking for the coach who knows the most, but a motivator, someone who inspires the team to do the best they can.

Team of the Year Award - recognises a team that shows great teamwork, a love of the game and a good attitude. A bunch of kids who just love playing football together. Win or lose, it's about enjoying the game that counts.

Nominations for the awards are open until August 31, 2012 with prizes including training sessions with top players such as Lucas Neill, and a $10,000 grant for the Team of the Year Award. Through participation in the awards, Optus also provides money-can't-buy opportunities for players to demonstrate at half time during matches or sit on the bench alongside the professional players on the pitch at selected matches.

300 Optus Small Sided Football Teams who enter will also receive equipment packs containing goals, balls, bibs and cones - all designed to provide coaches with better equipment to assist in developing their players.

300 Optus Small Sided Football Teams who enter will also receive equipment packs containing goals, balls, bibs and cones - all designed to provide coaches with better equipment to assist in developing their players.

Matthew Bulkeley, Head of Game Development, Football Federation Australia said, "Football has one of the highest participation rates amongst children in Australia and as an Official Partner of the Game Development Program, Optus is committed to supporting grassroots football and providing opportunities for all children to play football.

"With grassroots football being all about community involvement, it is important that through this awards program, we work to provide prizes that aim to educate not only the players, but also the coaches who are often parents who volunteer. Offering equipment packs, opportunities to join clinics with top players and easy-to-access resources through online and social media channels, players, parents and coaches are pleased to see the awards program running again this year," Mr. Bulkeley said

The Optus Small Sided Football Awards are currently open and will close on August 31, 2012.

For full details on each award category including prizes and criteria, and to nominate and vote please visit www.optus.com.au/football

Media Contact
Kelly Evans
Bang PR
T: 02 9018 2222

Note to Editors:

About Optus Small Sided Football

Optus Small Sided Football is a modified form of the 11-a-side football game that is tailor made for children from under 6's to under 12's to play. Players have more contact with the ball because fewer players are playing in a smaller–sized field. Optus Small Sided Football meets the development needs of younger football players whilst maintaining a strong focus on maximum participation and enjoyment. Players will be more active due to playing both attacking and defensive roles within a match and will understand the importance of team mates and playing and working together.