Socceroos legend Tim Cahill was “gobsmacked” when his name got called as an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), the second-highest honour in the Australia Day Honours list.
The award was given to Cahill as recognition of his contribution to Australian soccer as an elite player at the national and international level and his work with charitable and sports organisations.
“I was gobsmacked because as a player and as a person, your whole life, all you want to do firstly is make your parents proud,” Cahill said. "Then to achieve the career that I’ve had on and off the park domestically and internationally, to be recognised in that way, (is) truly humbling.”
Known as the all-time leading goalscorer for the Australia national team, Cahill has scored a record 50 goals in 108 appearances for Australia from 2004 to 2018.
Cahill’s popularity has grown worldwide as he played for the New York Red Bulls (United States), Shanghai Shenhua (China), Hangzhou Greentown (China), Melbourne City (Australia) and Jamshedpur (India).
“I said when I finished that all I wanted from the game and myself was just to be respected and this is something that is just a massive reward for all the hard work time and effort,” the former Aussie Premier League player said.
Aside from soccer, Cahill is active in charitable services serving as an Ambassador for UNICEF, and as an Ambassador for Heartbeat of Football—an Australian organisation promoting healthy hearts in football.
It includes four levels of recognition: Companion of the Order of Australia (AC), Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), Member of the Order of Australia (AM), Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).
The Officer of the Order of Australia, which Cahill received, is awarded for “distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or humanity at large.”