Foster and Zawada crowned players of the year

Michaela Foster and Oskar Zawada have scooped the majority of the player accolades at the Wellington Phoenix’s annual awards night.

They have been crowned the Spark and OPPO players of the year at the Phoenix awards dinner held at the Intercontinental Hotel in Wellington, on top of a number of other honours.

Foster and Zawada were also named the players’, members’ and media players of the year.

Originally signed as a scholarship player, Foster, 24, quickly established herself as a key member of the women’s Liberty A-League side.

The playmaking fullback went on to start all 18 of the Phoenix’s matches, with her ability to take set pieces with both feet a particular asset.

Foster’s round 12 goal against Brisbane Roar, a free-kick from 35 yards out, was also voted the women’s goal of the year.

“I owe a lot to the Phoenix and to the coaching staff, to Nat and Callum, for the effort they put into me and for taking a shot on me this year,” Foster said.

“A huge thanks to the whole management team for the time and effort they put into me to let me get on to the field and show what I could do.”

Michaela Foster poses with her five awards. Photo credit: Photomac.

Zawada, 27, enjoyed his most prolific goalscoring season as a professional, scoring 15 times to claim the men’s golden boot award in addition to his other accolades.

The Polish striker featured in 25 of the Phoenix men’s regular season matches, missing just one game for the birth of his son Leo.

He scored in five successive games on two occasions and was also credited with a couple of assists.

“It (the awards) means a lot,” Zawada said. I will not lie. If you work hard…it is always nice to get respect.

“It’s a team sport…but such rewards also are nice because they show you’re on the right path.”

Men’s player of the year Oskar Zawada with his wife Patricia. Photo credit: Photomac.

Young forward Milly Clegg was awarded the women’s golden boot after scoring four goals in her maiden A-League season. She was also named the members’ under-23 women’s player of the year.

Right back Callan Elliott was voted the members’ under-23 men’s player of the year, while midfielder Clayton Lewis collected the men’s goal of the year award for his fifth round free-kick against Macarthur FC.

New Zealand age-group internationals Noah Karunaratne and Olivia Ingham were named the academy players of the year.

To cap the evening, Lily Alfeld was presented the Lloyd Morrison Spirit of the Phoenix award for her incredible attitude throughout the women’s season, despite being forced to miss the entirety of the 2022-23 Liberty A-League with injury.

Wellington Phoenix 2022-23 season award winners:

Fan of the year – Peter Xu

Volunteers of the year –
Justin Raffan & Stu and Kirsty Jones

Staff members of the year –
Jesse Rawlings & Kya Stewart

Academy players of the year – Noah Karunaratne & Olivia Ingham

Men’s goal of the year – Clayton Lewis (Rd 5 vs Macarthur FC)

Women’s goal of the year – Michaela Foster (Rd 12 vs Brisbane Roar)

Golden boots – Milly Clegg (4) & Oskar Zawada (15)

Media players of the year –
Michaela Foster & Oskar Zawada

Members’ under-23 players of the year –
Milly Clegg & Callan Elliot

Members’ players of the year – Michaela Foster & Oskar Zawada

Women’s players’ player of the year – Michaela Foster

Men’s players’ player of the year – Oskar Zawada

Spark & OPPO women’s player of the year – Michaela Foster

Spark & OPPO men’s player of the year – Oskar Zawada

Lloyd Morrison Spirit of the Phoenix award – Lily Alfeld