It was nearly 2am. Sure, Kathy McDonogh was starting to feel the pinch, but she couldn't have cared less. She was about to learn the next Women's World Cup was coming Down Under - and the rest of the neighbourhood would soon hear her reaction as she erupted in delight.
"Oh my god, I was jumping around my house like a lunatic. I woke my daughter up to tell her the news, she has school today, and she was jumping around too. It was phenomenal. The whole street was awake because I was screaming," the Illawarra Stingrays NPL club president said.
"My phone was ringing hot. It was the most exciting thing, this is huge. Not just for women's football, not just for local football. This is huge for Australia and it's huge for our economy. To come out on the other side of coronavirus with this is just phenomenal."
This is huge for Australia and it's huge for our economy. To come out on the other side of coronavirus with this is just phenomenal.Kathy McDonogh
FIFA's congress met in Zurich on Thursday to decide who would host the 2023 Women's World Cup. Australia teamed up with New Zealand for their bid, with a late surging Colombia seen as their biggest threat of clinching the hosting rights.
It was almost 2am Friday morning (AEST) when FIFA president Gianni Infantino announced that Australia and New Zealand's bid was successful. They received 22 out of the 35 votes, and McDonogh's celebration was replicated in households across the nation.
Within hours, a video was circulating social media showing Football Federation Australia officials and Matildas players at the FFA's Sydney office erupting in joy.
It's the first time a senior FIFA tournament has been held on Australian shores and will take place between July and August 2023.
As part of their bid proposal, matches will be held in 12 cities across Australia and New Zealand. With the venues still up for discussion, McDonogh said it was a great opportunity for Wollongong to get involved.
"We will get a game here, don't you worry - 100 per cent. I'm just so excited about it," she said.
"I think it's about inspiring the next generation to jump on board and be fit, get outside, run around and have actual Aussie heroes to follow. I think with Aussie girls, you look at [role models like] Ash Barty, they now have dreams to dream and things to aspire to, and they can see that this does happen. It's not always Europe or the Northern Hemisphere who gets the football. We've done this, we can do this. It's such a wonderful thing - it's dream making stuff."
Football South Coast chief executive officer Ann-Marie Balliana agreed with McDonogh, saying Shellharbour's own Matildas star Caitlin Foord could be a major drawcard for the Illawarra region.
"To basically have one of the biggest tournaments in Australia is fantastic. It think it will be a really huge because it's going to inspire a whole new generation of players, both male and female," Balliana said.
"Even for local girls to look at players like Caitlin Foord who started out as an Albion Park junior and is now a superstar on the world stage of football. It will show people that it will take hard work, but it is possible to happen.
"With the Asian Cup that we had here [in 2015], we had Iraq use Wollongong as a training base. So hopefully Wollongong is definitely on the map for FIFA to consider as a training base again. It would be great just to get involved, and for us to feel a very close part of the tournament."
Foord is set to take centre stage at the 2023 tournament. It will mark her fourth World Cup campaign and a chance for the striker to taste success on home soil.
Her journey began when she made her debut at just 16 and eight months at the 2011 Cup in Germany.
The Matildas finished second in their group, before bowing out 3-1 to Sweden in the round of 16. However, Foord showed few signs of stage fright as she was named Young Player of the Tournament.
Four years later in Canada, the Matildas again finished second in their group stage. They then secured a 1-0 win over Brazil before falling 1-0 to Japan in a quarter-final.
Last year, Australia entered the France tournament as one of the Cup favourites. The Matildas again finished second in the group phase but sensationally crashed out in the round of 16 with a loss on penalties to Norway.
Foord is now 25 and is entering the peak of her powers. She has represented Australia in more than 80 games and forms a dynamic attack alongside Sam Kerr. The duo will be the faces of the Matildas' World Cup campaign in 2023.
Foord is currently based in Switzerland, but the Matildas striker took to social media to express her delight at the announcement, retweeting the FFA's celebratory post with three hearty eyes emoticons.
The tournament will also present a chance for Foord's mum Simone to see her daughter shine on home soil.
"For her to play in three [World Cups] was amazing. With the first one, because she was so young, I think she didn't understand the concept of how big it was. Then there was the one in Canada and France, it was a totally different atmosphere for her to play at a World Cup.
"It's unbelievable how quick her career is going, it's been 10 years now since she first pulled on a Matildas jersey. It happened so fast, you couldn't really take it all in: like, is this really happening? When you look back at it, it's just crazy."
Football Federation Australia chief executive officer James Johnson said the successful bid was a "historical day for Australian football".
"I really want to thank the federal government and the state governments for all of their support throughout this process, we couldn't have done this without that support," he said.
"I'd like to thank our team at FFA for the tireless work that's been done, particularly over the last few months. I'd like to thank our sponsors, our broadcasters, commercial partners. Thank you to the Australian football community, our member federations, our clubs, our players, our fans and our two million participants.
"This a historical day for Australian football. I hope everyone remembers it and enjoys the experience that we're going to have bringing the FIFA Women's Football World Cup here in 2023. It's the greatest sporting event in the world for women."
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