Illawarra Stingrays products Mary Fowler and Caitlin Foord are competing on an international stage at the World Cup but their old club is struggling to find their own place to play.
This is despite a four-year-old Wollongong City Council commitment to find a dedicated home ground for the club that represents the region in the Women's National Premier League.
However, the council said it had "identified a home ground option" for the Stingrays in April 2022.
There is frustration in some quarters of the women's game that the council is spending $80,000 to build monuments to the memory of the year-old UCI bike race while that 2019 commitment remains unfilled.
On top of that are fears the city missed the boat when it came to the popularity of the women's World Cup, despite being told what was coming.
As well as former Illawarra Stingrays players making the Matildas' side, there are at least 20 players who have made the jump to the A-League comp - the highest in the country.
Stingrays president Kathy McDonogh said that success rate wasn't a sign the facilities for women were suitable - it's more a case of those players succeeding despite them.
"I'd say that's more a reflection on the girls' natural talent and resilience than it is on facilities that they trained at," Ms McDonogh said.
Read more: When Mary Fowler played at the Stingrays
The club now plays home games at Berkeley's Macedonia Park and before then at JJ Kelly Park in a sub-lease arrangement with another club.
In July 2019 former councillor Jenelle Rimmer put forward a motion calling on the council to help find the Stingrays "a stand-alone home ground that allows them an income stream toward financial sustainability".
Councillors were surprised to hear of the sub-lease arrangement, given that other club was leasing JJ Kelly Park from the council.
Since that motion, several sites have been put forward - including JJ Kelly Park and Bellambi Oval - but Ms McDonogh said "they're not workable, tenable sites".
"Being able to develop that site [JJ Kelly Park] with the existing club and council to a Football NSW and FA standard ground for our level of football - it's really not a realistic option at the moment," she said.
"We have talked to [the council] about a few other options and we continue to explore those options with council.
"We do want to make sure there is some sort of facility in the Illawarra that is of a standard of at least NPL football."
A council spokeswoman said the ball was in the Stingrays' court regarding a proposed home ground.
"Wollongong City Council has identified a home ground option for the Illawarra Stingrays," the spokeswoman said.
"This was proposed in April 2022 and the Illawarra Stingrays are currently considering the option.
"While there were further conversations with club representatives across 2022 about the draft proposal, the club haven't yet signed council's proposal documents related to a potential home ground.
"We value the contribution the Illawarra Stingrays make to sport in our city, and in particular the participation of women and girls in football.
"We're a proud sporting city and we celebrate the achievements of all those who have pursued professional careers at an elite level in their sporting code of choice - whether it be football, swimming, basketball, running, cycling, or hockey.
"It's important we get the balance right for access to sporting facilities and opportunities, regardless of the code, and we look forward to continuing to work with the Illawarra Stingrays on a long-term plan that provides them with a home ground.''
In 2022 the club and the council agreed to a five-year lease to use Guest Park as a training base and landed a $300,000 state government grant for drainage, fencing and seating at the park.
The move to the park was a step up from previous struggles with training sessions, which had at times been conducted on car parks or basketball courts.
"A few years ago our training facilities were the outside fields of JJ Kelly Park," Ms McDonogh said.
"They were poorly lit [and] we had to put little girls in cars to take them to McDonald's around the corner to go to the toilet."
Former councillor Ms Rimmer said she was disappointed that, four years on, the resolution she put forward has not been fulfilled.
"When I left council it was still on the agenda," Ms Rimmer said.
"We were still pushing forward with a commitment to find them a permanent home. It is disappointing all these years later that still hasn't happened. I was happy we were able to get them an upgraded training facility at Guest Park.
"That took a significant investment but they definitely need a permanent home ground."
Due to substandard facilities, the city also missed an opportunity with the Women's World Cup - no matches were scheduled in the region, and no country chose to set up their training base in Wollongong.
Ms McDonogh said the council was warned back in 2019 that the World Cup would be "massive".
"You have no idea the wave that's coming," she said she told the council. "We need to ride it as a community - we don't want that to be a missed opportunity.
"Here we are four years later - it's a terrible missed opportunity for everybody."
Cr Mithra Cox was also on the council in 2019 when that motion to find the Stingrays a permanent home was passed. She is also a football player, running around with the Figtree Women's Over 30s team.
She said it was important to find a home ground for the team that represents the region in the National Premier League.
Cr Cox also agreed that the city "missed the boat" when it came to preparing for the World Cup.
"The Women's World Cup has shown how much interest there is women's football," Cr Cox said.
"It is expected to grow and council knows women's participation in football is only going to grow.
"Already Wollongong has constraints on grounds. If we see the expected surge in registrations next year, it's not going to be just the Stingrays, it's going to be all of the clubs with women's teams that are going to be looking for grounds."
The city would have welcomed a World Cup fixture, Cr Cox said, noting she was part of a WIN Stadium crowd watching a friendly between the Iran and Iraq. Even though a "home" team wasn't playing people turned out.
"For us to have missed out on those games is really sad and shows a real lack of planning and foresight," Cr Cox said.
"We knew years in advance that this was coming and we could have been part of that and we missed the boat.
"Knowing this was coming and not being ready is a real shame."
Wollongong City Council was contacted for comment.