West Ham U18s captain Gideon Kodua is the winner of the 2022/23 Dylan Tombides Award!
Kodua has enjoyed an excellent season in Kevin Keen’s young side, captaining the team to 27 wins in 32 matches played throughout the campaign; a run of form that saw the side claim top spot in the U18 Premier League South and lift the FA Youth Cup for the fourth time in West Ham history. The 18-year-old’s goalscoring efforts were pivotal to that success, with Kodua netting 16 times in all competitions, including 12 in the U18 Premier League South and three in the FA Youth Cup – including a sensational, 35-yard lobbed finish in the 5-1 win against Arsenal in the final.
The Dylan Tombides award is given annually to the Academy of Football’s outstanding scholar and is named in honour of the late West Ham United and Australia U23 forward Tombides, who tragically passed away at the age of 20 in April 2014.
“It’s amazing to have won the Dylan Tombides Award,” said the teenager. “I’ve worked really hard this year as a first-year scholar and I’ve tried to be at my best. It’s been a real group effort, the coaches have really helped me, Kev and Gerard have really pushed me to keep developing.
“This U18s squad are really special, and they’ve helped me so much this season. I’d like to thank everyone at the Academy, and I’d like to thank my family for their support. There’s been a lot of ups and downs over the years, times where things haven’t really gone for myself and I’ve had to go back to the drawing board. It’s been a real journey and I’m looking forward to what comes next.”
Award winner Kodua was selected by Academy Manager Kenny Brown and the coaching staff at the Academy of Football, who also chose fellow forward Callum Marshall and midfielder George Earthy as nominees for the 2022/23 honour.