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Fraser, Hughes in FFA Hall of Fame

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

MELBOURNE - The man that put Australia into its first soccer World Cup and a goalscorer against Brazil have been inducted into the FFA's Hall of Fame.

Former Socceroo James Fraser and Matilda Sunni Hughes were welcomed to Australian football's top tier at a ceremony in Melbourne yesterday, alongside eight "Teams of the Decade" to celebrate 50 years of FFA membership with world body FIFA.

Fraser was Australia's goalkeeper during qualification for the 1974 World Cup, playing in the cauldrons of Tehran and Seoul on the road to the finals in Germany.

He missed the World Cup campaign because of business interests in Australia, a decision he says he regrets every day.

"I had to make a choice of going or probably 100 people losing their jobs which wasn't easy," he said.

"But that was the way it was, you were part-time players ... we did it hard but we loved what we did and I wouldn't swap the time I had for the players now."

Fellow inductee Hughes, who was also named in the Matildas' team of the '90s, said she was thrilled to be awarded the honour.

"You could have knocked me over with a feather ... you just play the game because you love it. To get something like this, I'm stunned and honoured," she said.

She said the pinnacle of her career came at the Sydney Olympic Games where she scored Australia's goal against Brazil.

FFA chief executive David Gallop said looking at the sport's history gave him great cause for optimism.

"We're a young vibrant sport, we're on an unstoppable growth trajectory, but it's really important we recognise the pioneers of the game," he said.