(Photo: © FIH / Stanislas Brochier)

The International Hockey Federation is pleased to announce the nominations for the FIH Player of the Year Awards. The annual prizes recognise the finest hockey players in the game as voted for by athletes representing the world's best international teams.

The shortlist for the FIH Men’s Player of the Year Award contains two of the greatest hockey players of their generation. Brilliant Dutch attacker Teun de Nooijer is joined by HC Bloemendaal team-mate and World Cup-winning Australian Jamie Dwyer, with both men aiming to win the coveted award for a what would be a record fourth time.

However, these two hockey icons face stiff competition from three other superstars of the world game. Germany midfielder Moritz Fürste is a strong candidate following outstanding performances for both club and country, helping a youthful Germany team to reach the final of the Hero Honda FIH World Cup whilst also guiding his club side UHC Hamburg to Euro Hockey League glory.

England's Barry Middleton is another player who has greatly impressed his fellow internationals, with his skill and creativity helping to re-establish England as a genuine title contender at the highest level, while Korea’s Jong Ho Seo‘s stunning goal-scoring ability ensured that he also gained many votes from his peers.


Following Argentinean triumphs at the Samsung FIH Champions Trophy (Nottingham, ENG) and BDO FIH World Cup (Rosario, ARG), it is hardly surprising that two Leonas stars have made it onto the shortlist for the FIH Women’s Player of the Year Award. 33-year-old Luciana Aymar was an inspirational force for her team as they claimed the World Cup on home soil, and her subsequent nomination creates the possibility of an incredible seventh Player of the Year crown for the midfield maestro.  She is joined on the list by team-mate Soledad Garcia, who like Aymar is also familiar with the FIH Player Awards having been named Young Player of the Year in 2002 and 2004.

China’s Fu Baorong will be hoping to win her first FIH Player of the Year Award thanks to consistently excellent performances for the Olympic Silver medallists. In what was very much a transitional year for the China team, the 32-year-old striker has been a constant goal threat against the world’s best teams throughout 2010.

Two names from Europe complete the women’s line-up, with Germany’s Natascha Keller and Maartje Paumen of The Netherlands both drawing votes in big numbers. Keller - famously an Olympic Hockey Gold Medal winner alongside father Carsten (Munich 1972), and brothers Andreas (Barcelona 1992) and Florian (Beijing 2008) - continues to be a magnificent scorer and creator of goals for Germany. Could she reclaim the FIH Player of the Year title 11 years after her first win in 1999? Although known for her ferocious flicking ability from penalty corners, Maartje Paumen is also a confident and accomplished defender who played a central role in guiding The Netherlands to Silver medals at this year’s Champions Trophy and World Cup tournaments. 


Following his victory in the 2009 Edition, England's Ashley Jackson leads the candidates for the FIH Young Men's Player of the Year, which is open to athletes born in 1987 or later. However, the gifted attacker and penalty corner expert will be challenged for the prize by four other rising stars of the world game. Two of Germany’s most promising players have been named in the shortlist, with battling midfielder Tobias Hauke and teenage striker Florian Fuchs both achieving nominations. Dutch midfielder Robbert Kemperman continues his rapid rise to stardom by making the shortlist after a year which saw him win Bronze at the Hero Honda FIH World Cup, while New Zealand striker Nick Wilson has been a key player in a resurgent Black Sticks team.

Like Jackson in the Young Men’s Award, Australia’s Casey Eastham has been re-nominated for the FIH Young Women’s Player of the Year Award following her success in 2009. Dutch forward Eva de Goede is another nominated player who will be aiming to add this award to the Olympic Gold medal she collected in 2008 as a 19-year-old. The youngest player on the list is India striker Rani Rampal, who has already marked herself as a massive talent despite being just 15 years old.  Argentina’s World Cup winning attacker Daniela Sruoga and China’s Zhao Yudiao complete the line-up, with both players making a big impression at the highest level in 2010.

The winners of the FIH Player of the Year Awards will be announced on Friday 12th November at a special ceremony in Montreux, Switzerland, the location of the 2010 FIH Congress and Forum. A full press release will be released immediately following the presentation.

Over the coming weeks, the International Hockey Federation will be profiling each of the nominated players on its official website – www.fih.ch . These player profiles will be uploaded at regular intervals from Monday 1st November 2010. 


Nominees

FIH Men's Player of the Year
Jamie Dwyer (AUS)
Moritz Fürste (GER)
Barry Middleton (ENG)
Teun de Nooijer (NED)
Jong Ho Seo (KOR)

FIH Women's Player of the Year
Luciana Aymar (ARG)
Fu Baorong (CHN)
Soledad Garcia (ARG)
Natascha Keller (GER)
Maartje Paumen (NED)


Young Player Awards (players born in 1987 or thereafter.)

FIH Young Men's Player of the Year
Florian Fuchs (GER)
Tobias Hauke (GER)
Ashley Jackson (ENG)
Robert Kemperman (NED)
Nick Wilson (NZL)

FIH Young Women's Player of the Year
Casey Eastham (AUS)
Eva de Goede (NED)
Rani Rampal (IND)
Daniela Sruoga (ARG)
Zhao Yudiao (CHN)

Past winners:
Men
1998 Stephan Veen (NED)
1999 Jay Stacy (AUS)
2000 Stephan Veen (NED)
2001 Florian Kunz (GER)
2002 Michael Green (GER)
2003 Teun de Nooijer (NED)
2004 Jamie Dwyer (AUS)
2005 Teun de Nooijer (NED)
2006 Teun de Nooijer (NED)
2007 Jamie Dwyer (AUS)
2008 Pol Amat (ESP)
2009 Jamie Dwyer (AUS)
 
Women
1998 Alyson Annan (AUS)
1999 Natascha Keller (GER)
2000 Alyson Annan (AUS)
2001 Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2002 Cecilia Rognoni (ARG)
2003 Mijntje Donners (NED)
2004 Luciana Aymar(ARG)
2005 Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2006 Minke Booij (NED) 
2007 Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2008 Luciana Aymar (ARG)
2009 Luciana Aymar (ARG) & Naomi van As (NED)
 
Young Men
2001 Tibor Weissenborn (GER)
2002 Jamie Dwyer (AUS)
2003 Grant Schubert (AUS)
2004 Santi Freixa (ESP)
2005 Robert van der Horst (NED)
2006 Christopher Zeller (GER)
2007 Mark Knowles (AUS)
2008 Eddie Ockenden (AUS)
2009 Ashley Jackson (ENG)

Young Women
2001 Angie Skirving (AUS)
2002 Soledad Garcia (ARG)
2003 Maartje Scheepstra (NED)
2004 Soledad Garcia (ARG)
2005 Maartje Goderie (NED)
2006 Mi Hyun Park (KOR) 
2007 Maike Stockel (GER)
2008 Maartje Paumen (NED)
2009 Casey Eastham (AUS)