Kai Trewin was left ‘heartbroken’ after being left out of Tony Vidmar’s Joeys squad for their under-17’s World Cup Qualifying campaign last year.
But the Canberra United Academy alumna has proven his worth 12-months on – taking out the FFA Centre of Excellence’s Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year awards at the program’s graduation on Saturday night.
The 16-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in the National Premier League, plying his trade in the midfield before being utilised as a center back for the second half of the year.
Trewin missed two games of the FFA Centre of Excellence’s NPL campaign, netting four times to help the program secure second place on the ladder.
He says he’s put the despair of being axed from the Joeys World Cup Qualifier squad behind him but still used it as inspiration throughout the season.
“It was heartbreaking,” Trewin said.
“I definitely used it as motivation during the year. It made me more determined than I have ever been before.
“It drove me to become a better footballer.
“I have improved a great amount over the past year. The biggest challenge came mentally, the way I thought about things and the belief I had in myself.”
Trewin took out the Players’ Player of the Year award ahead of winger Jacob Italiano, having polled in all but five games of the season and was awarded the Player of the Season by FFA Centre of Excellence coaching staff.
The Canberra local goes down in the history books as the last player to win both awards given the programs termination at the end of August.
“It’s an honor to be the last recipient of the awards. For me it’s a fantastic way to finish my time at the program,” Trewin said.
“I know I couldn’t have done it without the support from the staff at the AIS, my teammates and the coaches who've shown faith in me throughout the season.”
Striker Mirza Muratovic secured the Golden Boot award presented to the top-goal-scorer in the NPL season.
Muratovic netted 13 times in 15 games and scored a brace in the FFA Centre of Excellence’s final game against Belconnen United.
Goalkeeper Matt Sutton took home the Jerry Ianno Education award for displaying excellence at school.