THE FIRST female to umpire in an AFL game, Eleni Glouftsis, has been named the 2019 South Australia Young Australian of the Year and received 2019 Australia Day honours in South Australia for her services to football.

Glouftsis umpired her first match at the elite level when Essendon and West Coast met in round nine, 2017, at what was then named Etihad Stadium (now Marvel Stadium). 

After starting her career as a whisteblower in 2008 and progressing through the SANFL junior ranks, she became the first woman to be a field umpire in the senior level of that competition in its 137-year history in August 2013.

Football operations manager Steve Hocking paid tribute to the 26-year-old for her development. 

"Eleni has dedicated a number of years to the game, and in doing so, has provided young women across the country with a visible pathway to the elite game," Mr Hocking said.

"On behalf of the AFL, we would like to congratulate Eleni on this great honour and thank her for her continued and dedicated work umpiring AFL football."