Football Federation Australia today congratulated former Westfield Matildas star Cheryl Salisbury on being named for induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
Salisbury is set to become the first female footballer to be inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame at this year’s ceremony in Melbourne on Thursday, 10 October.
She will join Australian football legends Ray Baartz, Harry Kewell, Peter Wilson, Alfred Quill, Joe Marston MBE and John Warren OAM MBE in the nation’s most prestigious sporting pantheon.
The former Matildas captain made her debut for Australia in 1994 and went on to score 38 goals for her country and play 151 games for the Matildas, a record number of caps for a female or male player.
Salisbury represented Australia at the 1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007 FIFA Women’s World Cups and twice at the Olympic Games - in 2000 and 2004.
Her reputation around the world as one of the game’s best saw her named in the FIFA Women’s World XI squad in 2004 and 2007.
The Novocastrian captained the Matildas for seven years and was one of the catalysts for the Matildas emerging as an international football powerhouse.
FFA Chairman Chris Nikou said Salisbury’s contribution both on and off the pitch changed Australian women’s football forever.
“Cheryl understood the potential of Australian women’s football and made it her mission to transform the sport she loved so that future generations of Matildas could reach their full potential and live their footballing dreams.”
“It’s through her example on and off the pitch that we have thriving Westfield W-League and a world class national team in the Westfield Matildas.”
“Her legacy to the game continues to deliver dividends for Australian women’s football.”
“There is no one in the game more deserving of this recognition than her,” he added.
Salisbury was not only a star in national colours but was also a pioneer in professionalising the women’s game. She played for the Memphis Mercury in the American W-League in 2002 and spent three seasons plying her trade in the Japan’s Women’s League.
She was also a key player in the United States’ short lived but seminal Women’s United Soccer Association, turning out for the New York Power in 2003 in the world’s first fully professional women’s competition.
FFA Chief Executive David Gallop AM believes Salisbury’s contribution to the success of women’s football has been immense.
“People still talk about how Cheryl set new standards and expectations for how the Matildas should prepare to play and what they could achieve on the pitch.”
“Her durability, tenacity and talent were what made her the bedrock of the Matildas team for over a decade,” he said.
The Sport Australia Hall of Fame Gala Dinner will be held in Melbourne on Thursday, 10 October at Palladium at Crown.