Gold Coast United 2018 Senior Players of the Year, Conor Smith & Mackenzie Akins
A packed ballroom at Royal Pines was the setting for Gold Coast United’s 2018 Awards evening, a celebration of the Club’s outstanding achievements in its inaugural season in the National Premier Leagues Queensland competition.
The night was an acknowledgement of the contributions of many culminating in the presentation of the 2018 Senior Players of the Year.
American Mackenzie Akins and Englishman Conor Smith were crowned the Senior Women’s and Men’s Player of the year, with Akins also taking out the Women’s Golden Boot award, 25 goals in her maiden NPL season. Brandon Reeves took out the Men’s Golden Boot.
For Akins it was sweet reward after returning to the game this year from a knee reconstruction. The Californian was quick to acknowledge her teammates, who together produced a stellar back half of the season.
“I really enjoy being part of a new club that supports and encourages the women’s side and I want to be a leader in the growth of this club going forward.”
Men’s midfielder, Conor Smith, who scored six goals in his 2018 campaign, was thrilled with his award and is looking forward to season 2019.
Earlier in the evening the Club’s SAP, NPL Academy and Youth players also received due recognition for their fantastic debut seasons in the State’s premier football competition. Technical Director, Craig Midgley, praised the success achieved across the board, thanking his coaching staff and presenting Shannan Mcluckie with the Coach of the Year award. Mcluckie guided the U11 SAP Boys and the undefeated U14 NPL Boys in 2018. The U14’s took out the premiership, the only team in the NPL competition across the state, male and female, juniors and seniors to achieve that feat.
With an array of dignitaries, sponsors and VIP’s on hand, it was Chairman Danny Maher who thanked everyone involved across the club, top to bottom, for their contributions.
“It’s been a momentous first year for Gold Coast United with some outstanding achievements on and off the pitch.
“There’s been lots of hard work from a vast array of dedicated and passionate people that culminated in the return of the Club and the creation of a genuine, first class pathway for talented young footballers, male and female, to pursue their footballing dreams here on the Gold Coast.”
“With that being said, there’s still a long way to go and everyone involved remains committed to our common objective and vision.
“We’re all working hard to build on a wonderful start, we’ll reflect on how far we’ve come but remain absolutely focused on where we can improve. We are United.”
There’s little time to dwell on what has been a fabulous 2018, with the club’s ‘dream team’, the U15 Girls, heading into a Grand Final decider on Sunday and behind the scenes, planning well underway for 2019 trials, scheduled to start in little over a fortnight.
GOLD COAST UNITED 2018 AWARD WINNERS
SAP Boys – Player of the Year
U9 Jack Hart
U10 Sebastian Carrabino
U11 Ethan Sardellis
U12 Tate Baldwin
SAP Girls – Player of the Year
U9/10 Georgi Zerbst
U11/12 Alexis Ravenscroft
Boys NPL Academy
U13 Players’ Player, Rylie Uttley; Coach’s Player, Nathan Cort
U14 Players’ Player, Cameron Anderson; Coach’s Player, Kody Wright
U15 Players’ Player, Josh Dimarco; Coach’s Player, Jayden Dwyer
U16 Players’ Player, Mark Ritchie; Coach’s Player, Hayden Anderson
Boys Academy Top Goalscorers
Finnegan Wagner (U13) 20 goals
Jack Pirone (U14) 20 goals
Girls NPL Academy
U13 Players’ Player, Claudia Tisler; Coach’s Player, Elizabeth Warne
U15 Players’ Player, Claudia Danckert; Coach’s Playe,r Claudia Danckert
Girls Academy Top Goalscorer
Ryleigh Saunderson (U15 Girls) 33 goals
Seniors – Youth
U17 Girls Players’ Player, Paige Taylor; Coach’s Player, Holly Sessarago
U18 Boys Players’ Player Tim Lahiff; Coach’s Player, Xavier Sproule
U20 Youth Men Players’ Player Harry Saunders; Coach’s Player, Harrison Lister
Top Goal Scorers
Female – Mackenzie Akins (25 goals)
Male – Brandon Reeves (10 goals)
Player of the Year
Women – Mackenzie Akins
Men – Conor Smith
Coach of the Year
Shannan Mcluckie – U11 SAP Boys & U14 NPL Boys (premiers/undefeated)