Katie Zelem has won the Manchester United Women’s Player of the Year award after a successful inaugural campaign for Casey Stoney’s team.
The midfielder was influential throughout the season and was selected by her team-mates for a three-strong shortlist alongside Millie Turner and Leah Galton.
Zelem eventually emerged as the victor to claim the trophy, with Turner coming to a close second and Galton finishing third.
How Zelem Won It:
Katie has been a regular and inspirational presence at the heart of midfield this season, netting 11 goals so far. She could add to her tally in our final league game against Lewes on Saturday, after which the players will lift the FA Women’s Championship trophy.
The former Juventus midfielder has been a key figure in the engine room as Stoney’s side have gained promotion to the Women’s Super League, while also reaching the Continental Tyres League Cup semi-finals and SSE Women’s FA Cup quarter-finals.
Throughout the campaign, the 23-year-old from Oldham has been a set-piece specialist, with her corners and free-kicks more often than not leading to goals.
A standout goal from Katie was her stunning free-kick against Everton in the Continental Tyres League Cup, which arrowed into the top corner to give the Reds a 3-0 lead against the Toffees. This strike was nominated for United’s Goal of the Month for December.
Zelem was also named the FA Women’s Championship Player of the Month for March after playing a starring role during a key month for United Women.
What Katie Thought…
It’s amazing, the midfielder said.
It makes it even more special that it’s the first ever award. I couldn’t have asked much more from the first season to be honest. Every one of the girls has played a part, whether it be on the pitch or off the pitch. Likewise with the staff. Casey’s got us really close together and I think you can see that by the performances on the pitch.
After leaving United, Katie had spells at Liverpool and Juventus but returned in the summer when the Women’s team was founded.
I was so excited, to be honest. It was always in my plans whether it was five years away, 10 years away. I did always hope to come back to Manchester United. It happened much sooner than I expected and I’m so glad it did and hopefully, I can stay here for a while.”
With the Reds set to face the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester City in next year’s Women’s Super League, Katie is excited about the challenges that lie ahead.
I’m so excited, to be honest. For me, it’s where we deserve to be, testing ourselves against the best and we can see where we’re at and make a plan from there.”