Sydney FC’s Australian international Jessika Nash has been awarded the 2021 Collette McCallum Medal which celebrates the overall conduct and commitment of a female player representing Australia’s junior teams.
The award, which is a joint Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and Football Australia (FA) initiative, is presented to a player whose conduct and character aligns with and amplifies the values of Australian football, honouring the contribution of former Young Matilda Collette McCallum.
As Nash prepares to represent Sydney FC in the A-League Women’s Grand Final this Sunday, the 17-year-old defender was surprised with the award by Sydney FC captain Natalie Tobin in front of her Sky Blues teammates at training.
“This award means so much to me and it is an absolute honour to be recognised for my commitment to this amazing sport,” Nash said.
“My first year and first national team call up was surreal, especially playing alongside some of the best players in the world and playing against the top ranked Women’s team [the USWNT].
“I have been working hard for this goal [of representing the CommBank Matildas] for such a long time now. I would just like to thank my mum, my extended family and all my coaches along the way who have believed in me and have seen things in me that I haven’t even seen in myself.”
Identified by Football Australia’s youth national team coaches for her strong leadership qualities within the Future Matildas and as co-captain of the CommBank Junior Matildas, Nash’s development on and off the pitch accelerated during 2021, culminating in a senior national team debut in a friendly against the United States.
Nash joins inaugural recipient of the Collette McCallum Medal, Karly Roestbakken, who was awarded the medal in 2019, before a significant pause in National Team activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to the pandemic, the PFA and Football Australia committed to recognising players representing Australia’s junior national teams via the two collective annual awards.
The Collette McCallum Medal is awarded to a female player from the Under 17 (Junior Matildas) and Under 20 (Young Matildas) teams, while the Dylan Tombides Medal is awarded to a male player from the Under 17 (Joeys), Under 20 (Young Socceroos) and Under 23 (Olyroos) teams.
The Dylan Tombides Medal – alongside the Dylan Tombides Foundation – allows Dylan’s legacy to live on after the Australian youth international tragically passed away at the age of 20 from testicular cancer in 2014.The recipient of the Dylan Tombides Medal will be revealed next month.