Lisa De Vanna has urged the next wave of Australian female footballers to grasp the opportunities in front of them as women's football reaches unprecedented heights in this country.
Speaking at the launch of the Westfield W-League 2017/18 season, the Westfield Matildas icon reflected on the early days of her own football career.
NO MORE RAFFLE TICKETS AND CHOCOLATE
“I had to sell raffle tickets and Freddo Frogs to get to where I am,” laughed De Vanna.
“To see how hard my pathway was and when I look at the Young Matildas and the opportunity they've now got, it's a different world.
“But that made me resilient – I don't have any regrets – because it built character with all the hardship I had to go through in my career.
“Hopefully the girls will appreciate what they've got, but know that the pioneers of the game left that pathway for them.
“Hopefully they appreciate it and take it to the next level."
LOOK HOW FAR WE’VE COME
De Vanna played for Perth Glory in the Westfield W-League's inaugural season in 2008/09.
She marvels at how much the league and the women's game has progressed in Australia since then.
“We had baggy boys' clothes and played on some field out the back that didn't have lines,” remembered De Vanna.
“It's changed dramatically in the last three years.
“Especially this year with the pay coming in and all these professional standards.
“Now there are no excuses – every player has to rise now.
“You can't turn around and say, 'I didn't have this or I didn't have that.'
“In the past, girls would have to finish work, put on their [football] clothes and get to a park somewhere to train.
“There's better coaching now and a better pathway to the Matildas.
“I always say to the girls that you never know who's watching.
“If you prepare in the right way, doors open for you overseas where you can extend that career and make it full-time."