Noah Botic awarded inaugural Dylan Tombides Medal

Honour: Rockdale product and Australia under-17s star Noah Botic was awarded the inaugural Dylan Tombides Medal. Picture: PFA/FFA
Honour: Rockdale product and Australia under-17s star Noah Botic was awarded the inaugural Dylan Tombides Medal. Picture: PFA/FFA

Noah Botic has had the disappointment of Australia's elimination at the FIFA under-17s World Cup tempered after being acknowledged as the inaugural winner of the Dylan Tombides Medal.

The Rockdale product was presented with the award in Brazil ahead of the Joeys' 4-0 defeat at the hands of France in their round of 16 clash on Thursday morning (AEDT).

The medal, which was introduced through a joint PFA and FFA initiative in August, is awarded to a player from the under-17s, under-20s or under-23s Australia teams who has exemplified the standards, commitment and courage in representing Australia at youth international level, honouring Tombides' memory.

Tombides' father, Jim, traveled to Australia from England to talk to the Socceroos during the PFA Men's Footballer of the Year presentation in October, speaking about the award and how it allowed Dylan's legacy to live on, after the Australian youth international died from testicular cancer in 2014. He was 20-years-old.

The accolade reflects Botic's recent progress after the 17-year-old signed a two-year scholarship with German Bundesliga club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim in August following trials at Manchester United and interest from fellow English Premier League club Everton and Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich.

Botic enjoyed an outstanding personal campaign at the under-17s World Cup, scoring four goals in Australia's three group games to lead them to the knockout stage.

Botic said his work ethic and dedication were key to his recent rise and the award would inspire him to work harder to achieve his career goals.

"It feels amazing. I couldn't be happier," Botic said.

"It tells me that I am working hard constantly on and off the pitch and confirms that I'm on the right track to become a professional footballer.

"To see that [Joeys head coach] Trevor Morgan and the PFA have picked me to win this award has made me feel excited about what is still to come in the future.

"After Trevor mentioned Dylan, it's touched me a bit about his story and him playing for a young Australian side and him having that sort of difficulty in his life wasn't easy, so he has inspired me."

Morgan said he was proud that a Joeys player had been selected as the first recipient of the medal and was full of praise for Botic.

"The players in this squad work hard on a culture of excellence called 'A class US'. We have a well-established leadership group, from which there are several players who set the highest standards when representing themselves, their family and our country," he said.

"Noah has always been an outstanding contributor and example to others as he shows respect, humility, professionalism and self-discipline. On top of this his match performances have been crucial to success. In the AFC under-16s Championships he was joint top scorer without playing the final and here at the World Cup has scored four goals in the group stage.

"It's nice for Noah being a striker to win this special award, named after a young Aussie striker with tremendous potential who was taken from us way too early."

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