Lisa into the Hall of Fame
FORMER national women's soccer representative Lisa Casagrande, originally from Goonellabah, has been inducted into the Football Federation Australia (FFA) Hall of Fame.
Casagrande played juniors with Goonellabah before progressing to a short but outstanding career.
She made her debut for the Matildas aged just 14 and retired at only 22.
But in those eight years she came to be regarded as one of Australia's best female players.
The versatile attacking midfielder's first match for the Matildas came against Japan in 1994 and a year later she scored in a 3-2 win over Brazil.
Lisa was the first female AIS scholarship holder to train with the male AIS team in 1994, alongside future Socceroos captain Lucas Neill, Josip Simumic and Danny Milosevic.
Casagrande played in two Women's World Cups and became the youngest player (aged 20) to reach 50 international caps, finishing with 64 international appearances and 13 goals.
"Lisa's story is amazing, having come into the Matildas at such a young age and then going on to have the impact she did," FFA chief executive officerDavid Gallop said.
Casagrande represented Australia in the 1995 World Cup in Sweden, scoring in a 4-1 loss to the United States.
She was top scorer in the national women's league for Canberra Eclipse, went on to play in all Australia's games at the 1999 Women's World Cup in the US and was sel-ected for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Football Far North Coast general manager Steve Mackney said Casagrande was clearly the best female player to have laced on a boot in this region.
"Lisa was an extraordinary talent from a very young age and although diminutive, she was very skilful," Mackney said.
"Football FNC recognises the player judged best on field in the women's premier grand final each year with the Lisa Casagrande Medal."