Ulises Davila has been named the joint-winner of the Johnny Warren Medal at last night’s Dolan Warren Awards, for his outstanding performance for the Wellington Phoenix during the 2020/21 A-League season.
This is the first time the Johnny Warren Medal has been shared by two players, with Davila a joint recipient along with Sydney FC midfielder Miloš Ninković. Davila is the fourth Phoenix player to claim this award – more than any other club – joining the likes of Roy Krishna, Nathan Burns and Shane Smeltz.
Under the stewardship of Wellington Phoenix coach Ufuk Talay, 30-year old Davila – in his second year with the Nix and first as captain – scored seven goals and registered seven assists across 23 matches, the only A-League player to reach both of these marks this season.
The Johnny Warren Medal votes were cast after each game (on a 3-2-1 basis) by four experts: a former professional player, a technical expert, the match officials from that game, and a senior member of the Australian football media.
Davila says that the award win was a “surprise” and comes after a challenging year for the Phoenix due to their re-location to Australia due to Covid.
“It was a tough year with many [challenges], we had to move from Wellington to Wollongong – but in the end, we tried to do our best,” says Davila.
“It was a very good challenge for me, for the team and all the young players and we enjoyed the season more [as it went along]; then we started to play good football and show some good things.
“It’s a great honour to win the medal, my teammates are a big part [of this award] and the staff at the Phoenix – I’m so grateful and I want to thank God, my family and everyone in the Club who made this possible.
“To even be named alongside these other two players [Ninković and Alessandro Diamanti], they’re both quality players.”
Wellington Phoenix General Manager David Dome says that the award is well deserved for Davila.
“Ulises did a fantastic job for us this year – and the season before as well – so he deserves recognition for his play on the field,” says Dome.
“Ulises was able to thrive within Coach Talay’s system, which catered to his strengths and allowed him to show his scoring and passing creativity – despite being the most fouled player in the A-League and a constant target by the opposition.
“We wish Uli all the best for his football future and thank him for the magic he bought to the Phoenix in his two years with us.”