After starring in the Matildas historic FIFA Women’s World Cup run, Novocastrian footballer Emily Van Egmond today returned home to where it all began.
The midfielder was awarded a Key to the City of Newcastle in recognition of her contribution to the national squad’s heroic efforts on home soil, which saw them achieve the highest ever finish of any Australian team in a World Cup competition.
Early in the tournament Van Egmond played significant game time up front in the absence of Captain Sam Kerr, scoring her first World Cup goal since she was 17 in the match against Nigeria.
Crowds of proud Novocastrians watched on from the live site in Wheeler Place as the Dudley-Redhead junior continued to play a key role through the middle once the skipper returned from injury.
Receiving the Key to the City at Nobbys Beach today, Van Egmond acknowledged the explosion of interest and recognition for women’s sport and thanked locals for turning out to support the Matildas.
“Newcastle is a special place for me and I am honoured to receive the Key to the City,” Van Egmond said.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said Van Egmond, along with fellow Newcastle player and Matildas squad member Claire Wheeler, would be role models for generations of local footballers as a result of the team’s game-changing efforts.
“The performance of the Matildas during the Women’s World Cup has been nothing short of spectacular, capturing the imagination of the Australian public and igniting a women’s sport movement that will be felt for years to come,” Cr Nelmes said.
It has been just four days since the Matildas wrapped up their campaign in fourth place creating a lasting legacy, and Van Egmond is already looking ahead to the future.
“Novocastrians have shown their passion for football and I’m thrilled to see the next generation of girls sharing my love of the game.”