Australian Football Awards open for "grassroots legends"

You might be the one who volunteers to put up the nets at the crack of dawn. You might be the stalwart who’s always last the leave the clubhouse.

You might be the one who volunteers to put up the nets at the crack of dawn. You might be the stalwart who-s always last the leave the clubhouse. Your team might have won with style and sporting spirit that had the opponents applauding.

The 2011 Australian Football Awards are now open for nominations of football-s “grassroots legends”.

The awards are conducted by Football Federation Australia (FFA) to recognise the outstanding achievements and contributions of individuals and groups in the football family, from children playing football for their local club or school through to players representing Australia at the highest international level.

There are three main categories in the AFA Awards:

• The general awards category includes FFA Medal and Community Service Award. The FFA Medal is the most prestigious award available while the Community Service Award is an award for a member of the Australian football community who has made an outstanding contribution to the Australian community outside football.

• The professional category includes FFA Footballer of the Year and FFA U20 Footballer of the Year awards for both male and female players who have demonstrated excellence on the field, outstanding contribution and professionalism off the field, while the non professional category includes a volunteer, coach, referee and team award.

• Team of the Year Award is open to any team which is part of a club registered with FFA, across all age groups.

The football family may nominate online by visiting until 5.00pm AEST on 19 August 2011.

“The strength of football in Australia is the great numbers of players who play, coach, referee and volunteer in the administration,” said FFA CEO Ben Buckley.

“Among the 1.7 million participants are so many great stories of sporting success and selfless contribution to the game. The AFAs are our annual tribute to the heroes of the grassroots and the great role models at the pinnacle of the game.”

The winners of the 2011 Australian Football Awards will be announced at a special gala event in October. This is the third year the Awards have been held.

In addition, the Professional Footballers- Association (PFA) and Football Media Association (FMA) player awards will be presented at the 2011 Australian Football Awards. The PFA awards will include the PFA Footballer of the Year, PFA Harry Kewell Medal for the best young player and the PFA Women-s Footballer of the Year as voted by their peers. The FMA award will be awarded to an Australian International Player of the Year as voted by the Australian football media

Note: The AFA professional awards are determined by an expert judging panel. Votes are received from National team, Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League coaching staff members. National Youth League coaches will also be involved in preparing the U20 Footballer of the Year shortlist.