Kantarovski caps stellar year

Ben Kantarovski has today been unveiled as the December nominee for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

Newcastle Jets midfielder Ben Kantarovski has today been unveiled as the December nominee for the NAB Young Footballer of the Year Award.

The nomination is recognition of the versatile 17-year-old-s prodigious talent and caps a wonderful year in which Kantarovski represented Australia at the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Egypt, and also saw him nominated for the Fairfax Young Performer of the Year Award.

Indeed, 2009 certainly was a special year for the born and bred Novocastrian, as his star continued to rise in the Hyundai A-League and on the international stage, all while he completed his Higher School Certificate. The cultured footballer was named the Jets- Player of the Year for season 2008/09, and has now appeared 22 times in Australia-s top flight domestic football competition.

“It-s a great honour, being acknowledged by the panel as one of six nominees for the award is a really good achievement so far.”

“Finishing the HSC and playing regularly in the A-League for Newcastle has been a really big step, it-s been hard work and you have to be disciplined,” Kantarovski said today as he recalled his rapid rise to stardom.

“Playing in the Under 20 World Cup was a major highlight for me, the experience we all gained, and the knowledge, from that was just incredible,” explained Kantarovski. “Hopefully, one day, I-d love to play at a FIFA World Cup and make the Socceroos squad in the future.”

Jets Head Coach Branko Culina has witnessed Kantarovski-s development first-hand and believes the Newcastle starlet could become an integral member of Australia-s next crop of stars in the coming years.

“Ben is one of those players that is hopefully going to be a shining light for Australian football for many years to come.”

“He-s a different type of player to the players that I-ve worked with at a similar age; Mark Viduka, Jason Culina, Brett Emerton just to name a few. Ben has different qualities to them, but for his age he is a very mature player, which is very positive,” said Culina.

Kantarovski and fellow NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominees Kofi Danning, Leigh Broxham, Tommy Oar, Rostyn Griffiths and a selected player for the month of January will vie for the title, with the overall winner to be announced at the conclusion of the season.

As part of the December nomination, NAB will present a $3,000 equipment pack to Kantarovski-s junior club Broadmeadow Magic FC in recognition of the vital role that junior football club-s play in the development of today-s young stars.