Former Matildas captain Cheryl Salisbury recognised as an all-time great

CHAMPION: Cheryl Salisbury has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.
CHAMPION: Cheryl Salisbury has been inducted into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

CHERYL Salisbury's status as one of Newcastle's sporting icons has been reaffirmed by her induction into the Sport Australia Hall of Fame.

The former Adamstown and Lambton Jaffas junior, who represented Australia in a record 151 soccer internationals, will become the first female footballer to enter the Hall of Fame.

At an induction ceremony on October 10, she will join an elite list of champions that includes fellow Novocastrians Ray Baartz (soccer), Andrew Johns and Clive Churchill (rugby league), Mark Richards (surfing) and Casey Stoner (motorcycle racing).

She is only the seventh soccer player inducted, alongside Baartz, Harry Kewell, Peter Wilson, Alfred Quill, Joe Marston and John Warren.

TRAIL BLAZER: Cheryl Salisbury during her playing days.

TRAIL BLAZER: Cheryl Salisbury during her playing days.

Salisbury debuted for the Matildas in 1994 and wore the green and gold for 15 years, retiring with a then-record 38 goals to her name, including a penalty in her swansong game, a 2-all draw with Italy.

She represented Australia at four World Cup tournaments (1995, 1999, 2003 and 2007) and at two Olympic Games, in 2000 and 2004.

Her name occupies a special place in Australia's Olympic history.

In front of 33,600 fans at Sydney Football Stadium in 2000, she became the first Aussie woman to score a goal at the Games, netting in the 1-all draw with Sweden.

She spent seven years as Matildas captain and was twice named in FIFA Women's World XI squad, in 2004 and 2007.

As well as her feats for the Matildas, she spent two seasons playing professionally in the United States and three seasons in Japan.

After retiring in 2009, she was soon inducted into Football Federation Australia's Hall of Fame and in 2017 became the first woman to be awarded the Professional Footballers Association's Alex Tobin Medal, the highest honour for Australian soccer players.

FFA chairman Chris Nikou paid tribute to Salisbury after Sunday's announcement.

"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," he said.

"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."

FFA chief executive David Gallop said Salisbury "set new standards and expectations" that were instrumental in helping to establish Australia as one of the world's foremost women's teams.

"Her durability, tenacity and talent were what made her the bedrock of the Matildas team for over a decade," Gallop said.

This story Cheryl Salisbury inducted into Sport Australia's Hall of Fame first appeared on Newcastle Herald.