Friends of Football announced Carol Waller as the recipient of their 2019 Medal of Excellence, awarded for delivering excellence to our sport over a long time.
Waller has contributed more than 45 years of service to football as a player, team manager, club administrator, regional and national administrator and who has represented New Zealand on and off the pitch.
Friends of Football chair Earle Thomas announced the honour at New Zealand Football’s annual awards dinner in Auckland (July 27, 2019).
Here is how Earle described Carol Waller’s achievements when presenting her medal:
“This person is living proof that someone can make a huge contribution to football through many different ways and over such a long time – yet still remain unknown to many of the thousands of players who benefit from her work.
“Yes, her work.
“Tonight we’re pleased to add a woman to the list of recipients of the Friends of Football Medal of Excellence. She deservedly joins a group of great achievers that includes John Adshead, Ivan Vicelich, the late Steve Sumner, Brian Turner, Bert Ormond, Warwick Gendall and last year’s recipient, historian Barry Smith.
“I can’t hope to do justice to all of Carol’s achievements – in fact, if you want to read them in full, I suggest you go to Jeremy Ruane’s excellent Ultimate Soccer website for his profile of this remarkable person.
“The profile lists more than 40 specific roles that Carol has performed within football since she became the first player to wear a goalkeeper shirt in the very first Auckland women’s rep team in 1973.
“She went on to become the goalkeeper in the first New Zealand national women’s team – one of the players who pioneered the start of organised women’s football in this country in the mid-1970s.
“Not content with merely playing the game, Carol became club secretary for Eden Football Club in Auckland, a role she held for 21 years, before it merged into Three Kings where she stayed on for another 12 years, receiving life members of both clubs.
“Outside of club football, she served for more than 30 years in various administrative roles in Auckland – with the Women’s FA, with Soccer Auckland and with Auckland Football’s board of directors.
“Nationally, she was a council member for 11 years with the NZ Women’s FA; she chaired and vice-chaired the Women’s Soccer Association; then chaired the women’s committee of NZ Soccer and since 2007, she’s been a member of the women’s advisory committee to New Zealand Football.
“She’s represented New Zealand on Oceania’s women’s committee; she’s held various roles at tournaments staged by Oceania and our national body; she’s managed numerous teams on tours to the United States, Scandanavia, Holland, Germany and Australia, and to national and regional tournaments at home.
“And along the way, she still found time to get qualifications both as a coach and as a referee!
“Carol has made the most of her passion for football.
“Most of her football career has been as a volunteer. Though she now works as a staff member with Auckland Football, few would have a better understanding of our sport’s reliance on people who keep our clubs running, week in and week out, purely because they love the game.
“Only a few in our sport have delivered so much and for so long. In little more than three years, Carol will celebrate half a century of football seasons.
“We want her to know her work has made a difference. We owe her much for helping move the women’s game forward. As an administrator, she has helped set the standard for what can be achieved by volunteers, as well as those employed to run our sport.
“Few people in football are more deserving of our thanks and tonight we are proud to add the name Carol Waller to the list of recipients for our Medal of Excellence.”