Cheryl Salisbury had goosebumps talking about the reality of her home town hosting FIFA Women's World Cup matches.
A game-changer celebrating a game-changing occasion.
Salisbury not only paved the way for future generations, she blazed a trail so that those who follow would be recognised in ways Matildas of her era could only dream about.
It was an emotion-charged moment for the proud Novocastrian when Australia were named co-hosts of the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup, with at least four games to be be played at McDonald Jones Stadium.
"When Joey [Peters] and I were both playing, just to play at home in Newcastle was a rare feat and it only ever happened a few times while we played," Salisbury said.
"To actually have a World Cup here, in Australia, and have games here in Newcastle is going to give the girls in Newcastle something so magic."
The former Matildas captain played at four FIFA Women's World Cups - 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 - and two Olympics in 2000 and 2004.
Salisbury represented her country on 151 occasions, was twice named in the FIFA Women's World XI squad, played professionally in the United States and in Japan.
In 2017 she was a long overdue and first female, recipient of the Professional Footballers Association's Alex Tobin Medal, the highest honour for Australian football players.
Earning the right the host the Women's World Cup, with the support of a nation helping drive the bid, shows how far the game has come.
But there is plenty more to do and Salisbury urged Newcastle and Australia to keep driving the game forward.
"It's been a little bit disappointing that in the lead-up to today there hasn't been much on it," Salisbury said.
"It's been more about rugby league and them catching a cold than anything about the FFA getting the Women's World Cup here in Australia. So we've got to dig deep again and we've got to start the movement forward.
"Of our sporting teams in Australia, it's the women's teams who are the favourite amongst the community. So we've got to rally together again and really get it back out there and get all of women's sport back in the spotlight again."
Salisbury, in front of 33,600 fans at Sydney Football Stadium in 2000, scored Australia's first ever Olympic goal in women's football with a diving header in a one-all draw with Sweden.
"It's just incredible," Salisbury said of playing on the world stage at home. "Besides just playing at an Olympic Games, to play at home was a special feeling when you were walking down the street or on transport from one place to another.
"No matter where you went, if you had the uniform on, you were embraced by the community and everyone loved you and you just felt the support. It wasn't just on game day; it was everywhere you went and no matter what you did. Everyone was so excited. Having more support in the crowd than the opposition is always great too."
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