When a soccer-mad Catherine Cannuli was growing up, female football role models were in short supply.
Today, not only is the former W-League and Matildas striker an inspiration to the next generation, she is guiding future female football superstars.
The Carnes Hill resident has made a successful transition from player to coach becoming the first women's technical director of the Southern Districts Soccer Football Association. She was also the assistant coach for the Western Sydney Wanderers W-League team who made history this season by becoming the first team to reach the finals.
Her dedication and commitment from the grassroots to the elite saw her recognised with the coach of the year gong at the recent Female Football Awards.
"The exposure the women's game has received has been big for the development of the game. For young girls to see the Matildas on TV has made a difference. You can't be what you can't see," said Cannuli, who led the SD Raiders to consecutive titles in 2017 and 2017.
"It's amazing to be recognised for my coaching. It's something I never though of when I was playing. I find it really rewarding.
"One of my major achievement is getting other girls into coaching because otherwise they are lost to the game when they finish playing. We have a record six coaches in our premier league squad."