Long before World Cup dreams were realised, a four-year-old boy first picked up a football wearing Bellambi Rosellas colours.
Almost four decades later, Scott Chipperfield is one game from helping Bellambi seal an Illawarra District League double, as well as Premier League promotion.
Chipperfield had spent the campaign juggling his time with the Rosellas on Saturdays and coaching the Illawarra Stingrays on Sundays.
He only started training again as a player once the Stingrays were knocked out of the NSW Women's NPL finals series.
Re-committing to coaching the region's leading women's club again next year, Chipperfield's decorated career on the field will come to an end in the grand final against Oak Flats.
"This is definitely it, the Premier League would be a bit sharp for me these days anyway," Chipperfield said.
"I always said I wanted to come back to play a season with Bellambi again, where it all started, so it's been great be part of it.
"The boys have had a great season, unbeaten until the last round and winning the title, so hopefully we can go out there and finish it off."
I always said I wanted to come back to play a season with BellambiScott Chipperfield
Chipperfield also played at Tarrawanna and Fernhill, before his famed career began with the Wollongong Wolves, playing in the back-to-back championships of 2000 and 2001, before signing with Switzerland's most powerful club, FC Basel.
Of course, the dynamic left-sided midfielder was also part of the Socceroos' golden generation, with fellow Illawarra stars Luke Wilkshire and Mile Sterjovski, playing in the World Cup qualifying penalty shoot-out win over Uruguary which ended a 32-year wait.
Retiring professionally in 2012, Chipperfield signed to play with Tarrawanna and has since split his time between Australia and Switzerland.
Showing he still has the touch, the 43-year-old broke the deadlock from outside the box in the major semi-final against Saturday's grand final opponents.
The Rosellas - who are yet to confirm their intention for promotion after winning the league by six points - went on to win 4-1, but only after Chipperfield came off the bench for their second.
"He's just been one of the boys, but you can certainly see him rise to the occasion in the last few weeks" coach Andrew Paine said.
"We've enjoyed having him in the squad, but he just fits in where he can, everyone has worked really hard to get to the grand final."
Chipperfield admits he has unfinished business with the Stingrays next year.
They were in the hunt for a top-three finish and double chance in finals, only to slip to fifth on the ladder on the last day.
The Rays then won their first final, only to be knocked out by Sydney Olympic in the semi-finals.
"We definitely want to be up there chasing our own grand final next year," Chipperfield said.
"I came into the job fairly late on in planning last year, so now I've got more time to be able to build towards another season."
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