Hyundai driving support for young talent
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FIFA and Hyundai announced today that Caitlin Foord of Australia is the first recipient at a FIFA Women’s World Cup™ of the Hyundai Best Young Player award, an established and coveted award at the FIFA World Cup™. Caitlin Foord was judged by FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG) to have demonstrated not only skill and creativity but also to have competed in accordance with the principles of fair play.

Speaking at the announcement, Tatjana Haenni, FIFA’s Head of Women’s Competitions said, “We are delighted to team up with Hyundai to introduce the Hyundai Best Young Player award for the first time at a FIFA Women’s World Cup and equally delighted that Caitlin is the awards’ first recipient. This award is another important tool that we can use to showcase role models like Caitlin and in turn inspire more girls to play football.”

Mark Hall, Head of Marketing at Hyundai Motor Europe commented, “The FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 is a fantastic showcase for the game of football, while raising awareness for the women’s game and the long-standing relationship between Hyundai and FIFA. We are delighted to once again present the ‘Best Young Player’ award at a world cup, and reward Caitlin for her outstanding abilities on the field of play. This tournament has truly conveyed feelings of dynamism, excitement and passion – attributes at the heart of the Hyundai brand.”

FIFA’s Technical Study Group (TSG), which is comprised of top football coaches and analysts, was represented at the announcement by FIFA TSG member, Technical Director US Soccer and former USA Women’s National Team Coach April Heinrichs and FIFA TSG member, DFB Sport Teacher and former German Women’s National Team Coach Tina Theune. Candidates for the award were evaluated based on criteria including exceptional skills, a youthful and refreshing playing style, creativity and tactical maturity. Crucially, to be in the running for the award, players must have featured in some of their teams’ matches and demonstrated a passion and spirit for the game as well as be set to establish new standards for their country in the near future. Only players born on or after 17th July 1991 were eligible for consideration by the FIFA TSG making the achievement of Caitlin Foord, at only 16 years and 8 months old, even more remarkable.

Speaking to FIFA.com after the announcement, April Heinrichs explained, “Her coach Tom Sermanni trusted her on the right of midfield and also as a right-sided defender. She has got the potential to become a prototype of a modern full-back who is strong in defence, but one who also thinks offensively.”

Also speaking to FIFA.com after the announcement, Tina Theune added, “We focused on a candidate who played an important role for her team. We chose 16-year-old Caitlin Foord of Australia because she was an integral part of her side.”