Where are they now: First 5 Young Footballers of the year

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This season of the A-League has seen many fans and media alike speak about the number of younger players coming up through the ranks.

With the 16th season A-League at an end. It’s time to have a look at some of the past A-League Young Footballers of the year.

For this list, we will be looking back at the first five receipts of the award.

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Nick Ward – Perth Glory (2005/06)

Following becoming the Young Footballer of the year at only 21, Ward went on to have a relatively successful career which was later hindered by injuries.

After the impressive stint at Perth, Ward went on to play for Queens Park Rangers, which he later admitted may have not been his choice if he had it again.

He last suited up and played in the Victorian NPL side Pascoe Vale in 2019 where the side unfortunately only managed to finish bottom of the table.

Ward has since retired from professional football and seems to be enjoying his time off with his family.

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Adrian Leijer – Melbourne Victory (2006/07)

After becoming a young Footballer of the year in the 2006/07 season, Leijer followed in the footsteps of Ward and went to test his talents in England. Unfortunately for Leijer, he never managed to appear on the field for either Fulham or Norwich City.

Following this stint, he returned to the A-League for a second stint at Melbourne Victory, winning two premierships.

Leijer last played football for NPL Victoria side Dandenong City in 2019. The side finished seventh on the table and narrowly missed out on the finals.

By the looks of thing, Leijer no longer appears to be playing football.

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Bruce Djite – Adelaide United (2007/08)

After a promising career cut short by injuries, Bruce Djite had some special moment in his time in the A-league.

Having played for two sides in the league, Adelaide United and Gold Coast, United Djite retired from professional football in 2018 after a stint with Indonesian side PSM Makassar.

From 2019 to the end of this season, Djite was director of Football at Adelaide United. A job he has been applauded for.

Djite is now the CEO of the Committee for Adelaide, driving policy change. He has also been a prominent public advocate for change and racial equality, particularly after the Black Lives Matter movement across the globe in 2020.

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Scott Jamieson – Adelaide United (2008/09)

One of only two players on this list is still on an active A-league roster. Jamieson has had a solid A-league career, having had five stints at different sides, starting from Adelaide United to Melbourne City.

Jamieson claimed his first club title this season, with City winning the premiership after dominating the rest of the league with their attack.

Jamieson has been in and out of the side’s starting 11, but he provides a dominating and assertive defensive presence when he is on the pitch.

Apart from being in the A-League, he had a short stint at first division Swedish side IFK Göteborg in the 2016/17 season.

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Tommy Oar – Brisbane Roar (2009/10)

Arguably the most successful player on this list. At his peak, Oar was an influential player in the Socceroos midfield with his passing ability and turn of the foot going forward.

Unlike most players on this list, Oar has spent a large portion of his career abroad playing for Dutch side FC Utrecht, English side Ipswich Town and Cyprus first division side APOEL.

Oar returned to the A-League for the 2020/21 season and became the inaugural signing of the expansion side Macarthur FC. Having had a relatively successful season helping Macarthur make finals in their first season, it’s fair to say Oar’s retirement part will not be any time soon.

Feature Image Credit: Supplied

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Pokuah Frimpong
Obsessed football fan, current journalism student.

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