On Thursday evening, the inaugural Women’s Football Awards were held to honor those whose contributions have been crucial to the development of the women’s game.
Alessia Russo of the Lionesses won the Player of the Year award at the first Women’s Football Awards, while fellow countrywoman Keira Walsh won the International Player of the Year prize and Tottenham striker Harry Kane won a major ally award for his work to advance women’s football.
Eni Aluko, a former England and Chelsea forward, and Jamie Carragher, a presenter for SkySports, hosted the event on Thursday night. It was a star-studded occasion to honor those who had contributed to the women’s game’s explosive growth in the previous year.
A voting panel comprised of Real Madrid midfielder Caroline Weir, SkySports news anchor Hayley McQueen, and Manchester United and England forward Nikita Parris ratified the results after receiving more than 200,000 public votes for winners crowned at all levels of football.
And shortly before Walsh—the most expensive female football player in history after her summer transfer to Barcelona—was named the International Player of the Year, Manchester United’s Russo accepted the Player of the Year trophy in front of a packed crowd.
Because Russo’s contract with United is set to expire at the end of the current campaign, transfer rumors have been circling about her. WSL rivals Arsenal made United a record-breaking £450,000 offer for Russo’s services during the January transfer window, but United turned it down.
Declan Rice, a teammate of Kane’s from England, and Kane themselves received praise for their assistance with the Lionesses prior to the team’s historic victory at Euro2022. Attacker Rosella Ayane of Spurs and forward Vivianne Asseyi of West Ham paid tribute to the two while acknowledging the behind-the-scenes help in women’s football.
Rice’s counsel for the women’s national team was also acknowledged by Lioness George Stanway.
Along with Liverpool’s Missy Bo Kearns, whose breakout season has been crucial in their first season back in the WSL, Chelsea’s young star Lauren James was named Young Footballer of the Year.
When he was named Women’s Football Champion of the year, Arsenal legend Ian Wright received thunderous applause. The former striker has been outspoken in his support of women’s soccer and in rejecting cliched ideas that persist in the media.