In its citation the Council for the Order of Australia acclaimed Cahill “for distinguished service to football as an elite player at the national and international level, and to charitable and sports organisations”, while recognising Foster “for significant service to multiculturalism, to human rights and refugee support organisations, and to football.”
Cahill, 41, represented Australia at a remarkable four FIFA World Cup™ Finals and amassed 108 appearances for the green and gold during an international career spanning 15 years. He scored an extraordinary 50 goals for Australia in senior internationals, including goals at three consecutive FIFA World Cup™ Finals (2006, 2010, & 2014).
Cahill was the first Australian to score at a FIFA World Cup™ Finals, the first Australian to score at an AFC Asian Cup™ Finals, and the first Australian to score at three FIFA World Cup™ Finals. He contributed to Australia’s success in winning the AFC Asian Cup™ on home soil in 2015, and in October 2017 became the oldest ever goalscorer for the Socceroos with a stunning brace in the second leg of a FIFA World Cup™ play-off against Syria in Sydney.
Cahill’s charitable endeavours include serving as an Ambassador for UNICEF, and as an Ambassador for Heartbeat of Football – an Australian organisation that promotes heart health through football.
Foster, 51, made 29 appearances for the Socceroos between 1996 and 2000, scoring nine goals. He played professionally in Australia, Asia, and the United Kingdom throughout a senior career that spanned from 1988 to 2003.
Following his retirement from professional football, Foster embarked on a successful career as a football broadcaster, commentator, and analyst with the Special Broadcasting Service (SBS). He has also worked extensively with Professional Footballers Australia (PFA), where he is a life member, former Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman.
Football Australia Chief Executive Officer, James Johnson, congratulated Cahill and Foster, acknowledging that both have made significant sporting and social contributions to the nation.
“On behalf of the Australian football community, I warmly welcome this formal recognition of Tim and Craig,” Johnson said. “Both men made their names on the football field, performing with aplomb for Australia and representing our great nation with pride.”
“Australian football is the most diverse sport in the Australian sporting landscape and their contributions to our country and society-at-large represent this diversity and extend far beyond stadiums and pitches at home and abroad. Both have demonstrated a commitment to assisting, or leading, programs designed to make people’s lives better, upholding and championing Australian values, and seeking to inspire people in Australia and internationally.”
Football Australia also wishes to recognise Football Victoria Director – and avid Westfield Matildas and Socceroos supporter – Ms Azmeena Hussain for receiving a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia “for service to the community of Victoria, and law”, and Dr Jeffrey Kemp, a former Chairman and Life Member of Football Gold Coast, for receiving a Medal (OAM) of the Order of Australia “for service to youth through counselling and sporting programs”.