Known as the “Trofej Nogometas” in Croatian, on June 8th, 2017 the Croatian Player’s Union (HNS) organized its fifth annual “Football Oscars” awards ceremony for the best soccer players on the regional and international level. Players of the Croatian 1st men’s league voted for the best goalkeeper, referee, 11 players of the Croatian league, best player of Croatian decent at the international level and several more.
An absolutely wonderful event, well organized and with a lot of well-known and important people in a room that share one common interest, a passion for soccer.
What surprised me, though, was that there was no one at the event representing women’s soccer other than myself.
First of all, as someone who has cooperated with the Croatian Player’s Union in the past, I know how much effort they put into contacting people from the women’s game in Croatia and getting them to participate, as I did the same in a project to complete a regional survey about the state of women’s soccer as told by all of the players that play in Croatia’s first women’s league.
So when I am told that a representative was invited from each women’s team in the league, I believe it.
What I don’t understand is why wouldn’t they come? Maybe the ones who live far from Zagreb weren’t willing to cover the travel expenses, sure, but there are 3 teams within an hour and a half from Zagreb and not one person decided that it might be nice to attend an awards ceremony with some of the best male players in the world. Heck, they could have sent a few players who would have been delighted to meet Luka Modrić or Danijel Subašić.
I would hope that soon there could be an awards ceremony just for women’s soccer where the best players in the league and internationally could get recognition from their teammates in front of a sea of important soccer. However, for that to happen the people who work in women’s soccer in Croatia (coaches, directors, team captains) need to show more interest in events and opportunities that could benefit the women’s game and motivate their players. Imagine what an honor and pride a player would feel if awarded the most voted from their teammates and opponents as the best player of a given season?
To make that possible, the players, coaches and team administrations need to show more interest by contacting the Croatian Player’s Union or responding to the message when the union contacts them.
After that, I would personally see that a “Football Oscars” event be organized for the women’s side!