Matildas superstar Sam Kerr says playing in a home World Cup will be the pinnacle of her decorated career, declaring Australia is ready to prove its credentials as a football nation.
Kerr stayed up into the early hours of Friday morning at her Perth home, unable to sleep before learning the news that Australia and New Zealand had secured the hosting rights for the 2023 tournament ahead of Colombia.
The trans-Tasman bid prevailed 22-13 in FIFA Council voting to bring the World Cup to the region for the first time.
Few stars are likely to shine brighter on the home stage than Matildas captain and Chelsea star Kerr, who is already among the biggest names in women's football and whose image was projected onto the Sydney Opera House on Thursday in the countdown to the FIFA vote.
The 26-year-old forward believes the 2023 tournament will be a landmark moment for the world game in Australia, as well as inspiring grassroots development.
"When I first started in the Matildas we could barely get a home Matildas friendly match and now we're going to be hosting the biggest tournament in women's football," she told reporters in Perth.
"A lot of people have said Australia is not a footballing nation. We're going to show them that's wrong and football is on the rise.
"It's going to be massive, for not only women's football but football in Australia."
The Australian women's cricket team captivated the nation earlier this year when they defeated India in the T20 World Cup final in front of more than 86,000 fans at the MCG.
Kerr hopes to see similarly huge crowds turn out to support a Matildas team that she feels is already resonating with Australians.
"I'm still inspired by Cathy Freeman at the 2000 Olympics so to think that our team and myself could be someone that young kids are going to look up to in 20 years, it's an amazing feeling," she said.
"It's just different having your idols play in your home town, 10 minutes away, and watching it on the big screen, rather than getting up at 3am and watching it somewhere else in the world."
Sydney's ANZ Stadium is earmarked to host the 2023 final but Kerr is hopeful Australia's schedule will include a visit to her home town.
"Hopefully the Matildas get a game here in Perth - if the FFA's watching, fingers crossed," she said.
Australian Associated Press