“I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.” These words were spoken by a woman regarded by many as the best footballer to play for the USA, Mia Hamm; although Michelle Akers is another in the mix.
Hamm comes from a very strong position in saying these words as she won five domestic competitions in the USA. She also won with the national team the FIFA Women’s World Cup twice, and Olympic Gold twice.
Not surprisingly she also received a number of individual accolades in her career as well. She became the first woman inducted into the World Football Hall of Fame. Hamm was also named Sportswoman of the Year by the Women’s Sports Foundation in 1997 and 1999. While In 1999, Nike named the largest building on their corporate campus after her.
Yet she has always advocated that the team came first. That team victories meant more than personal accolades and most athletes who play team sports will concur.
So one has to ask why would you award the player of the year in the NPL-WA the same money as you reward the team that comes top of the league at the end of the home and away season?
To rub salt into the wounds of the clubs who won competitions in Western Australia, several have advised that despite being presented with oversize cheques they have not received any money from the game’s administrators, Football West, but have been advised that they now have credit to the value of that amount. The men’s and women’s player of the year awardees did actually receive their money. It was not held in abeyance of fees or fines for the rest of their playing days.
Of course in the past the Gold medal winner in the men’s competition had walked away with a car from McInerney Ford, but it appears that that generous sponsorship deal has come to an end.
Congratulations must go to the players who were voted the best in 2017, Alex Salmon and Katarina Jukic. It is a huge honour and both now find their names amongst some of the best players WA has produced. They are in elite company and deservedly so after very good seasons for their clubs.
Of course they have no control over the value of the prize bestowed upon them, however one does have to ask whether an individual award should be on par with the collective team effort. After all the logic behind being a part of a team is that each player has a role, and that role be filled by the person best suited for it. Then together, every job and every strength within the team is covered.
Alex Salmon on collecting his award backed up the view held by many who play team sports, that the team comes first. He said on accepting his award that “On a personal level, I’m happy with this award but to be honest it would have meant a lot more if we secured the league title.But we go again next year and that’s all we can do.I’m humbled by it and I can’t thank Inglewood enough. This is for them.”
He is not alone as Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has said in the past “I prefer to win titles with the team ahead of individual awards or scoring more goals than anyone else. I’m more worried about being a good person than being the best football player in the world.”