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Sport Australia Hall of Fame welcomes first ever female

On Thursday 10th of October 2019, a former Matildas captain will be duly recognised for her contributions for women’s football.

On what will be a history-making night, Cheryl Salisbury becomes the first female footballer inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

Widely regarded as a pioneer for women’s football, Salisbury currently has the most caps for Australia of either gender with 151 matches and has made a name for herself by developing and enhancing the women’s game.

Playing predominantly as a central defender, she began her international career in 1994 with a debut against Russia, and represented the Matildas until her retirement in 2009.

Salisbury even managed to score in her first international game and finished up with 38 from 151 games.

She established herself as a staple for the Matildas line-up, and eventually named captain from 2003-2009. She became only the second women to play 100 internationals, achieved in a 1-1 draw with the United States at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.

Salisbury played in the biggest tournaments around the world, featuring in four World Cups (1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007), Olympic Games (Sydney 2000 and Athens 2004), as well as Football Confederation Women’s Asian Cups (2006 and 2008).

In the Sydney Olympics she scored Australia’s first ever goal at that level and in the 2007 World Cup she came up clutch to score a last-minute goal that would send the Matilda’s through to the quarterfinals for the first time.

The world controlling body, FIFA, rewarded Salisbury for her efforts by naming her in the Women’s World XI squad on two occasions in 2004 and 2007.

At club level, her major contributions were playing for Memphis Mercury in the 2002 American W-League and spent three years in the Japan Women’s league.

As someone who was always on the front foot, Salisbury was part of a handful of Australians who took part in the short-lived American Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), which was the world’s first fully professional women’s competition.

An outstanding leader for the Matildas, Salisbury’s best attributes were the versatility to play multiple positions, the trademark long throw and powerful clearances.

She has led the way both on and off the field and set a good example with fair play and teamwork.

Salisbury has already been inducted into the Australian Football Hall of Fame in the Hall of Champions category and in 2017 was the first woman to be awarded the Professional Footballers Association’s Alex Tobin Medal, the highest honour for Australian soccer players.

Now, she will add the Sport Australia Hall of Fame to her legendary CV.

The 35th Sport Australia Hall of Fame Annual Induction and Awards Gala Dinner will take place on Thursday 10th October 2019 at the Palladium at Crown, Melbourne.

Media, VIP and members can enter from 5:45pm, with guests able to come at 6:30pm.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

Ivan Franjic: “I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream”

Socceroos Ivan Franjic

Ivan Franjic’s arrival at historic National Premier Leagues Victoria side Heidelberg United has come via an unconventional journey to say the least.

From his early beginnings in the then-named Victorian Premier League with the likes of St Albans Saints and Melbourne Knights, to playing for Russian side FC Torpedo Moscow, to playing in the third-largest urban agglomeration in Korea with Daegu FC, Franjic’s career has certainly been one to savour.

Whilst his career has seen injury setbacks, a blocked loan and unpaid wages with Torpedo Moscow – and the discovery of a potentially career-threatening rare inflammatory condition known as myocarditis in 2016 – Franjic is grateful to be where he is today and to have had the footballing experiences he’s had.

“I’ve been very fortunate with the success I’ve had over my travels, and I’ve experienced some different countries,” he said.

“It’s been a great journey and I’m thankful and grateful that I was able to live my dream and play for the Socceroos at a World Cup. Some Championships as well, so, can’t complain at all.”

Torpedo Moscow

And as for why Franjic opted to return to the NPL Victoria to take up an opportunity with Heidelberg United, a family connection and the quality of the league spoke for itself.

“My brother has played in the NPL for a fair bit and I’ve watched a few of his games. If you look at the FFA Cup you’ve always got a Victorian team in the semi-finals, so it must be saying something about how good the standard of the league is,” he said.

“I know the coach George Katsakis and he called me and my brother and said he was interested in signing us. And obviously Heidelberg have had success over the last few years where they’ve won a lot of trophies, so, they’re wanting to build a great team to have another successful year once again.

“Whenever you go to Heidelberg you see that they have a decent following and that everyone gets behind them, so it’ll be good. I’m looking forward to playing in the NPL this year and to finally be playing with my brother after all these years.”

Heidelberg United

Next year’s Victorian NPL season will mark 13 years since Franjic departed his then-Victorian Premier League side Oakleigh Cannons to take up an injury-replacement contract offer with Ange Postecoglou’s Brisbane Roar.

It was under the now-Celtic FC coach where Franjic impressed the Roar faithful and built a platform to launch himself into a regular starting berth with the Socceroos at right-back.

As a three-time A-League Men’s Championship winner with Brisbane, three-time Premiership winner with the Roar (twice) and Perth Glory (once), as well as an Asian Cup winner, Franjic has certainly been a key cog in some of Australian football’s most historic sides.

“Obviously, winning the Asian Cup is a massive achievement, it’s similar to someone winning the Euros or the Copa America. But I think in Australia, with soccer not being the number one sport, it’s always hard to get the media buzz of AFL and NRL because they’ve got a huge following,” he said.

“But when you look back on it you don’t realise how high of an achievement it actually was against Asia’s best.

“I’d had Ange as a coach for a few years and he’s no doubt one of the best managers I’d ever worked under. The whole buzz of being in Brazil, with security all around the hotel and obviously Brazil is a football-mad nation, so, everywhere you went people were following you.

“It was exciting, and I thought Australia gave a good account of themselves without getting results in that tournament.”

Each of these remarkable honours were earnt between globetrotting stints with Torpedo Moscow, Melbourne City and Daegu. But before returning to the National Premier Leagues Victoria, Franjic made one final stopover with newly-joined A-League Men’s expansion side Macarthur FC. He gave credit to the side that he helped in their foundation.

“It was no doubt a challenge starting up a new club from fresh and giving it a go. Credit has to go out to all of the staff and the owners; they did an amazing job for a club in their first year in terms of facilities and the stadium. Compared to other clubs that have come into the A-League they were very good,” he said.

Macarthur FC

LaLiga initiative to support grassroots football worldwide

LaLiga

LaLiga has announced the launch of LaLiga Grassroots, in a bid to further advance and improve its bespoke sports and training projects, as well as promote LaLiga’s know-how and methodology.

This initiative is part of a series of international sports projects that LaLiga have been running since 2015 across multiple markets, and its most outstanding new feature is a series of programmes which are set to take place in Spain. The programmes will mainly be held at ESC Madrid, regarded as a state-of-the-art and world-beating sports complex.

Juan Florit, head of LaLiga Sports Projects, will be in charge of the technical and sports side of LaLiga Grassroots.

“LaLiga Grassroots was conceived as a new specialised unit conceived by the Sports Projects team and the International Business and Development team,” Florit said.

“Our activities will mainly focus on the holistic development of young players, international training programmes for professionals in the sector, and projects to promote and support LaLiga clubs when it comes to their academies and running international tournaments.”

This new project represents a further step in LaLiga’s creation and execution of sports projects, an area through which it has enjoyed great success over the last six seasons.

The project is set to find positions for nearly 750 Spanish coaches, as well as provide training for more than 20,000 coaches and 175,000 players in the more than 400 projects carried out across 38 countries.

Javier Hernandez, Head of Business and International Development for the project, was excited to see LaLiga Grassroots finally launched.

“The work we’ve carried out over the years in training players and coaches internationally has taken things to the next level, not only for those who have worked with LaLiga, but also for the league itself and its clubs,” he said.

“We’re convinced that now, with the creation of LaLiga Grassroots and the new programmes that we’ll be running at the ESC Madrid Center, we’ll be able to create better opportunities for everyone.”

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