Luke Wilkshire took on the world’s best as part of the Socceroos’ golden generation.
Now he will become the face of the bid to take the Wollongong Wolves to the A-League expansion promised land.
Wilkshire played at two World Cups, in England, the Netherlands and Russia, before returning to Australia with Sydney FC and moving back home with the Wolves in the NSW National Premier League. Can his profile help club into the top flight in 2018-19? As one of 10 bids shortlisted for two expansion places, to be named on October 31, it remains to be seen.
So too, the questions remain of who will take charge of the operational leadership of the club, following the shock announcement chief executive Chris Papakosmas would leave next month.
And when will the financial backers of the bid be announced?
Still Wilkshire’s commitment brings profile, his career from Albion Park to the World Cup a reflection of what the region is capable of.
“I’m incredibly proud to be a key part of the group that brings national football back to the South Coast region,” Wilkshire said on Tuesday.
"The Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League are the pinnacle of domestic football in Australia.
“The opportunity to have a club in our region participating in those leagues will be a tremendous boost in terms of development pathways and affirmation of our territory's historic football culture."
The Wolves announced a steering committee, led by prominent business people, including chairman Tory Lavalle.
Of the 10 bids shortlisted, Wollongong are likely to fight it out for one place against three rivals bids in Sydney.
Southern Expansion have launched their blueprint to combine the Sutherland, Kogarah and South Coast associations to form an A-League super club, with one third of games to be played at WIN Stadium.
Campbelltown’s United For Macarthur and South-Western Sydney FC are also among the hopefuls left standing.
The Wolves have also formed a partnership with Belconnen, with a view to having the ACT as a feeder region if their A-League bid is successful.