The Craig Johnston Building will be officially unveiled at Speers Point on Wednesday, recognising the achievements of Australia's most decorated footballer.
He overcame incredible odds after leaving his Speers Point home as a 15-year-old to try his luck in English football.
A multipurpose building at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility will carry his name.
It's the first time Johnston has been formally recognised in such a way in Australia.
Johnston told the Newcastle Herald that when he's on his deathbed, he'll be "thinking about his upbringing in Lake Macquarie with a big smile on his face".
"Growing up in that area, I'm convinced there's no other place like it in the world. And I've been to most of them," he said.
Johnston recalled a childhood of riding horses into the lake, jumping off Cockle Creek Bridge and surfing at Catherine Hill Bay.
"We called Lake Macquarie soccer ground 'Wembley Stadium'. We'd run around the Speers Point/Boolaroo area and up Hawkins Hill like we were billionaires, with not a penny to our name. The whole region was a goldmine of adventure," he said.
He would practice kicking a ball against the wall of an old brick toilet in Speers Point Park.
"Dad would drop me down there, draw some crosses on the wall and say that's the targets you have to hit.
"Then he'd disappear for an hour to Pippi's pub. He'd come back and bring me a bag of crisps and say 'stop using your right foot, use your left foot, Reggie', and go back to the pub for another hour."
His dad nicknamed him after Reggie Date - a famous Newcastle-based soccer player dubbed "the Don Bradman of Football".
On the way home, Johnston's dad would say "don't tell your mum where I've been".
"I'd say, 'of course not, Dad'."
Johnston added that the wall was "where my whole concept of repetitive practice started".
"Dad had stolen the idea from Sir Don Bradman. He instilled it into me."
Johnston later became famous for using the car park wall at Middlesbrough Football Club in the UK, using a scientific method to teach himself to become a better player as a teenager.
This led to his record transfer to Liverpool in 1981.
While his dad taught him to kick a ball, his mum "instilled maths, science and English into me".
Johnston said football created "ties that bind" and taught players "how to do your best, butt heads and then shake hands afterwards".
"It's about teamwork, joy, behaviour and respect - the pillars of a good community.
"We've got to get our kids back on the path that social media and this modern hedonistic era has taken from us - that old fashioned sense of joy and respect in a sporting context."
Johnston hopes to pass on these lessons as a legacy through his academy.
"That's always been my dream. The naming of the building is the next step along the way," he said.
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