On Friday, December 16, the annual laureate evening of the Latvian Football Federation took place at the Splendid Palace Cinema. Also this time, several club representatives attended the event and received individual awards.
Raimonds Krollis shone the brightest during the evening – our captain received awards in four nominations: the Ilmars Liepins award (the best youth footballer), Optibet Virsliga’s best goal scorer, Optibet Virsliga’s best striker, and Optibet Virsliga’s best player.
Raimonds could not attend the event in person, but in one of his video speeches, he said the following: “It is a great pleasure to become the best young football player in Latvia. This year was not easy for me, there were many experiences and difficult moments throughout the season. I have to thank all my relatives and friends who supported me. They helped me maintain confidence in my abilities and it is a great pleasure that the team and I fulfilled the goal of the season and became champions.”
The head coach of Valmiera FC, Jurgis Kalns, went on stage twice. He won two nominations – coach of the year in Latvian football, as well as Optibet Virsliga’s best coach award.
Upon receiving the coach of the year award, Jurgis Kalns spoke briefly: “Everyone says thank you very much, but I would like to have my whole staff here because nothing happens in my life without them. Everyone says thank you to the families, but I want to say one big thank you to everyone. I have been talking a lot all season, this is a time of love, peace, and reflection. I am currently thinking about the future, so thank you all again, and happy holidays.”
Niks Dusalijevs, who this year represented both our main team and Valmiera FC/VSS unit in the Optibet Naktones League, won his first individual award in his career. It was his performance in the Nakotnes League that allowed him to win the league’s best player award.
Niks Dusalijevs: “Thanks to everyone. Thank you to everyone who allowed me to be here today. But the biggest thanks to mom, thanks to the team. Happy holidays to everyone and again – thank you very much.”
Rihards Matrevics was recognized as the best goalkeeper of the Optibet Virsliga for the second year in a row, and he also received the award in person.
Rihards started with words of thank you to his family – parents, and wife, ending with expressing gratitude to Valmiera FC staff and leadership. “Thank you to all Valmiera coaches – Jurgis Kalns, Ivo Lakucs, thanks also to team president Uldis Pucitis for trusting me and taking a chance on me and allowing me to join the team.”
Among the best midfielders, our players had complete dominance – because three of ours were nominated in the category. Ivan Zhelizko, Camilo Mena, and Daisuke Yokota, with the last one earning the Optibet Virsliga best midfielder award.
Daisuke addressed those present via video from his home in Tokyo – “Hello everyone, I’m in Japan. I heard from our staff that I will receive this award. I would like to thank everyone who voted, I am very happy to receive this award. Virsliga is a great league, a hard championship and that’s why I’m happy to receive this award. Valmiera stands above everything!”
At the end of the evening, the symbolic eleven of the Optibet Virsliga was named, in which seven positions were occupied by our own players: Rihards Matrevics, Daniels Balodis, Roman Yakuba, Camilo Mena, Ivan Zhelizko, Daisuke Yokota and Raimonds Krollis.