Football prodigy Haley Bugeja is Atlas Youth Athlete of the Year

Sassuolo footballer and Malta women’s forward Haley Bugeja wins Atlas Youth Athlete award

Haley Bugeja celebrates another goal for the Maltese women’s national football team. Photo: Dominic Aquilina
Haley Bugeja celebrates another goal for the Maltese women’s national football team. Photo: Dominic Aquilina

After achieving the Atlas Youth Athlete of the Month for December, football star Haley Bugeja has now been awarded the Atlas Youth Athlete of the Year Award 2021.

She won this prestigious award after a combined vote by a panel of three sports journalists and a public vote held online over the past weeks.

Runners-up are long jumper Jeremy Zammit and swimmer Sasha Gatt, who were both very close behind.

The first and previous edition of this award was won by weightlifter Tenishia Thornton, with Haley Bugeja the overall runner-up.

Haley Bugeja joined U.S. Sassuolo in Italy at the tender age of 16 and drew international attention with a remarkable debut season, in which she finished as her club’s top scorer and one of the top five scorers in Italy’s Serie A Femminile. Her performances saw her named among UEFA’s top 10 female football players to watch out for in 2021, being the youngest player on the list.

This year has also been a sensational one for the Malta women’s international forward, who opened her 2021/2022 account at Sassuolo after finding the net in the first half against Napoli in the Serie A, after returning from a five-month absence due to an injury. In December, Bugeja was awarded the best player in the Serie A Femminile by L Football, an Italy-based publication specialising in woman’s football.

Bugeja’s most recent personal accolade was being included in the IFFHS Women’s U-20’s Best XI, being the first Maltese player to do so. She joined a list of promising talents in the 3-3-4 formation published by the IFFHS, which is the International Federation of Football History and Statistics.

Bugeja was also part of the Malta women’s national team in the recent Women’s World Cup Qualifiers against Montenegro and Bosnia-Herzegovina. She has continued her excellent form which saw her break the record for the youngest ever female player to score an international hat-trick in the European qualifiers.

The Atlats awarads promote and recognise the achievements both in terms of sporting results in Malta and in the international scenario, as well as adherence to the sporting values.

Athletes up to the age of 21 who would have distinguished themselves in their respective sports discipline are shortlisted for a monthly award by a panel of sports journalists. Each winner receives a prestigious trophy together with a sports apparel voucher of their choice, courtesy of Atlas Insurance.