It was November 1997 when the penny dropped for a 10-year-old Amy Chapman and her twin sister Georgia.
The girls were among 85,000 cheering on Australia to what they hoped would be qualification for the World Cup in France, with Terry Venables' star-studded side level at 1-1 coming into the second leg of their winner-takes-all play-off.
Chapman had played football since she could remember but things went to another level that night.
"I clearly remember going to watch the Socceroos play Iran at the MCG, a packed stadium, and I fell madly in love with Harry Kewell and those guys," she recalled.
"I was like 'I want to be a Socceroo', it's all I wanted to talk about, and the same with my sister, so we made our parents cut our hair so we looked like boys.
"I thought you had to look like that to play for the Socceroos and it wasn't until I was 15 that I realised that wasn't an option for women."
Australia suffered a heartbreaking defeat on away goals, throwing away a 2-0 lead after Peter Hore had stormed the field and cut Iran's goal net, but the seed had been sown.
"At that time, I was so adamant about trying to be the best player I could among the teams I was playing in," Chapman said.
"When we got thrown into the women's game, went to Canberra and played against other women, we realised 'we're actually pretty decent, we're up in the top five percent of players here.'
"That's when my parents went 'they can go all the way here' but until we left Albury, and left the men's game, we probably didn't know.
"There was a lack of visibility of the Matildas at that time, which made it tricky for young girls to dream but from the age of about 15, we knew we could be serious about this."
Born in Albury, Chapman grew up on a farm in Table Top and studied at St Patrick's Parish School before moving onto Scots School.
Playing her club football at Albury Hotspurs in the Albury-Wodonga Football Association, she and Georgia were the only girls on the boys team and they both felt the benefit.
"We would occasionally play on the weekends with the women's team but we'd train with the senior men's team which was my brother's team," Chapman said. "He was proud but embarrassed at the same time that his little sisters were coming along.
"But staying with the boys for as long as possible was the best thing for country girls trying to go to the next level.
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"I always felt that if you're the best player in the team, you're in the wrong team and that worked well for us. If we trained with the senior men, we'd have to use more skill because we didn't have the pace or the strength and with the women, we were very quick.
"That really helped us develop and we were part of the academy program with Steve Hayes, so the representative football here was awesome for us. We did the boys Albury rep team, Riverina rep team and then onto NSW Country stuff so it was always exciting to challenge ourselves at different levels."
Chapman moved to Canberra at 16 and worked her way into the Matildas under-20 squad before the time came to step up again.
"They said 'you need you to be training every night with even more Matildas' and the choice was Sydney or Brisbane," she explained. "That was how it worked and I had a good friend in Brisbane.
"Brisbane Roar was a very successful club, they won in the first year of the W-League so I knew I would be challenging myself. I was riddled with some bad injuries but I had eight or nine years there and a lot of the girls I played with have gone on to be some of the best players in the world.
"It's one of the most successful clubs that has existed in the women's game so it was great to be part of that history."
Chapman also spent two seasons with the LA Strikers, which opened her eyes further.
"When David Beckham was in the men's team, I was in the women's team," she said.
"The Americans have dominated women's football for 15 years so it was really good for me to challenge myself that way and to live and breathe it.
"The US is the number one for participation in women's football; they're off the charts. You can't compete with the numbers the US have. For every 10,000 players we have here, they have a million.
"They could probably field four World Cup-winning teams so I always knew it was going to be a good place to go and to play football all year round was good fun."
Chapman, one of 10 people being inducted into the Sport Albury-Wodonga Hall of Fame this year, reflects on her career with great pride although there were some 'what if' moments along the way.
"I almost signed for Chelsea in 2012," she revealed. "But at that time, I couldn't afford it because the contracts were so little you couldn't actually afford to live anywhere near Chelsea.
"It was tricky. I wanted to take that step towards professionalism but the platform in the game wasn't there to do that.
"The shift we've seen in the last five years where girls can genuinely commit themselves at a really high level all year round has been amazing to see.
"Some of my fondest memories are just playing among the boys and being so carefree when I was only 10, 11, 12, 13.
"My greatest achievements are around the Matildas and playing against Brazil, Canada and the US, in front of 70,000. I was lucky enough to travel the world and compete against the best players in the world.
"It's quite humbling, coming from a small country town, to be able to do that."
Chapman is now a football commentator for Network 10, Paramount Plus and Optus Sport.
"I didn't necessarily think this was where I was going to be but the popularity of the sport is growing and you need more female voices and faces in the game and more females in governance," she said.
"It's a very gender-neutral sport so I feel that's my responsibility to give back.
"It's been a steep learning curve but I really enjoy calling the games."
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