All White Oli Sail and Football Fern Kate Taylor have been named the Wellington Phoenix men’s and women’s players of the year.
The pair collected three major awards each as they were recognised for stand-out performances for the Wellington Phoenix during the 2021-22 A-Leagues.
They received their accolades at the Phoenix’s 2022-23 season launch at the St James Theatre in Wellington.
As well as being awarded the Spark men’s player of the year, Sail was also voted the OPPO men’s players’ player and the media’s men’s player of the season.
The goalkeeper led the men to the A-League finals, against all odds, and was rewarded with selection in the All Whites for the intercontinental playoff against Costa Rica.
Sail: ‘It’s very flattering’
“I want to say thank you very much for those who put me forward for the Spark men’s player of the year award. It’s very flattering,” Sail said.
“Thank you very much for your support over a difficult year. I hope to continue with the standard of performance and I’m very excited for what’s going to be a massive year for the football club.
“It’s a great honour to receive the OPPO players’ player of the year. I’d like to thank OPPO and Spark for their support this previous season and going forward. It’s great to have you on board.
“I’d also like to send a thanks to my team-mates for the nominations for the award. I was extremely proud of each and every one of you last season.
“It was extremely difficult circumstances and the adversity we showed to come out on top with a relatively successful achievement of making the play-offs was something that we can all look back on with fond memories and a great sense of pride.”
Taylor: ‘I can’t wait to play at home’
Taylor was recognised as the women’s player of the year by the media before being presented the SHOTT members’ women’s player of the season and supreme NZCIS women’s award.
She started 13 of the team’s 14 matches at centre back, despite only being 18, and her performances led to her being called into the Football Ferns.
“I’m grateful to receive the NZCIS women’s player of the year award,” Taylor said.
“If it wasn’t for Gemma and the coaches, the support staff and the sponsors it wouldn’t have been possible. You all made the team function and without you all the team wouldn’t have been able to train like we did, live away from home and grow.
“A big thanks to NZCIS for being our front-of-shirt partner and getting behind the team. You all made it easier for us to show up to sessions and games and put in maximum efforts. I can’t wait to do it all again at home this season.
“I’d like to say a massive thank you to the members who voted for me, but more importantly thank you to all the members that showed their support last season with both teams being in Australia.
“Also a big thank you to SHOTT for supporting the team in our first season.
“I can’t wait to play at home with all our fans there watching.”
Other award winners
Lily Alfeld, David Ball, Alyssa Whinham and Sam Sutton were the other Phoenix players recognised for their performances during the 2021-22 season.
Alfeld was voted by her team-mates as the women’s players’ player of the year after leading the team to breakthrough wins over Canberra United and Western Sydney Wanderers in their maiden season.
Members picked hardworking forward Ball as their men’s player of the year, while naming Whinham and Sutton their under-23 players of the year.
Wellington Phoenix 2021-22 season award winners:
- Media players of the year – Kate Taylor and Oli Sail
- Members’ under-23 players of the year – Alyssa Whinham and Sam Sutton
- SHOTT members’ women’s player of the year – Kate Taylor
- Gazley Skoda members’ men’s player of the year – David Ball
- Comrad women’s players’ player of the year – Lily Alfeld
- OPPO men’s players’ player of the year – Oli Sail
- NZCIS women’s player of the year – Kate Taylor
- Spark men’s player of the year – Oli Sail