Australia: Tim Cahill


Written by Kavin Tamizhmani in 2013

Edited by Connor Shannahan in 2015

Attacking Midfielder, #4, 33 Years Old



While Australia is known for its excellent cricket teams, it also has an under appreciated national soccer team, the Socceroos. With the likes of Mark Schwarzer, Robbie Kruse, and others, Australia will be an interesting prospect to watch at the upcoming FIFA World Cup. In a team of stars, perhaps no player is more important than the talismanic Tim Cahill, recently ranked as the top current Australian soccer player [1]. Known for his remarkable aerial ability, he is a versatile attacking midfielder who serves as a legitimate scoring option for Australia. His career honors include PFA Australian Footballer of the Year in 2009, a nomination for the Ballon D’Or in 2006, and Everton’s Player of the Season in the 2004-2005 season [2].


Timothy Filiga Cahill was born in Sydney, Australia to a British father and Samoan mother [3]. Today, he still remains the first person of Samoan heritage to represent the Australian soccer team. Growing up, Cahill was surrounded by kids playing rugby in the winter time, but his mother Sisifo decided against Cahill playing the sport because she thought it was too dangerous. His father, Tim senior, encouraged his mother’s decision, as his passion was soccer. Tim continued to play soccer at various youth teams including Tigers in Haberfield and Balmain Police Boys Club. As a youth, Cahill realized that he was going to become a soccer player. Cahill says, “I knew by the age of 10 that I wanted to be a professional football player; I used to watch the games beamed in from England with my dad and brothers and that only fed my obsession [4].”


To commence his club career, Cahill joined English-based outfit Millwall, making his debut on May 22, 1998 [5]. In the 2003-2004, season, Cahill led Millwall to the Football Association Challenge (FA) Cup Final, ultimately losing to Manchester United [3]. After scoring 58 goals in 241 appearances for Millwall, Cahill took his talents to Goodison Park in Liverpool, the home of Everton Football Club, a top-flight English club [6]. Cahill transferred to Everton for a fee of £1.5 [7].


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Cahill became an instant sensation at Everton, becoming the 2004-2005 fans’ Player of the Season. In 2006, he was the first Everton player in 18 years to be nominated for the prestigious Ballon D’Or award given to the best player in Europe [5]. During his time from 2004-2012 at Merseyside, “Tiny Tim” grew into a Toffees icon under manager David Moyes. In the 2008-2009 season, Cahill was Everton’s top scorer with 9 goals that year, including a strike against Liverpool Football Club in the famous Merseyside derby. The following season, Cahill served as captain after Phil Neville was injured, exemplifying his important role within the club alongside Leighton Baines and Mikel Arteta [8].


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On April 25, 2010 Cahill made his 200th appearance for the Toffees. After scoring 68 goals in 278 games for Everton, Cahill joined the New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer on July 26, 2012 for a reported fee of £1m [9]. For his excellent performances, Cahill was named to the 2013 MLS Best XI for the league’s top 11 players after finishing the season as the Red Bulls top scorer with 11 goals and 5 assists in 27 starts [10].



Interestingly, Cahill began his international career with Samoa, debuting for the Western Samoa under-20 team at an Oceania qualifying tournament. Coming on as a substitute for Samoa meant that Cahill was not eligible to play for Australia under FIFA’s rules because he played for Samoa at an official tournament. After an intense battle and support from Australia coach Frank Farnia and Australian officials, Cahill was cleared to play for Australia making his debut against South Africa in March 2004. From that time, Cahill represented Australia at the 2004 Beijing Olympic games, the 2005 Federations Cup in Germany, the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, and the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. In the 3-1 victory over Japan, Cahill became the first Australian player to score a goal at a World Cup Finals [11]. At the 2010 World Cup, he scored against Serbia, making him Australia’s top scorer in a World Cup finals. In an illustrious career with Australia, Cahill has amassed 28 goals in 63 appearances for his country [2].


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Off the pitch, Cahill has been extensively involved with a football academy in Wollongong, Australia. He hopes that Wollongong’s soccer team will compete in Australia’s A-League in the near future. Cahill is deeply committed to inspire children who seek to become footballers. He stated, “My parents sacrificed almost everything to give me the opportunity to be successful and if I can make the pathway either to professional football or a better life off the streets easier, then this is a big motivation for what I am doing [12].” In addition, Cahill serves as an UNICEF Ambassador. For his 32nd birthday, he urged fans to buy him $32 soccer balls to donate to underprivileged children [13]. Overall, Cahill will be a pivotal figure in Australia’s success at his final World Cup next year.


Australia ended up finishing last in their difficult group, unable to win a game; however, Tim Cahill certainly left his mark on the world in 2014.  He scored a goal in both games he appeared in and was the only player on the Socceroos to score away from the penalty spot. Due to yellow cards in these games, Cahill was unable to play against a struggling Spain team. Nevertheless, no one will forget Cahill’s performance against the Netherlands. No highlight reel was complete without Cahill’s absolutely stunning volley off the crossbar just a minute after Arjen Robben opened scoring for the game. (seen below) The goal will certainly go down as an iconic world cup goal and possibly the best of the tournament.


Click here to return to the Players to Watch home page.

Continue on to Group B – Chile: Alexis Sánchez

Group B – Netherlands: Arjen Robben

Group B – Spain: Sergio Busquets

Click here to return to the Asian Football Confederation page.

Learn about Australia’s National Anthem


How to cite this article: “Australia: Tim Cahill,” Written by Kavin Tamizhmani (2013), Soccer Politics Pages, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, (accessed on (date)).


Works Cited:


[1]- Socceroos Power Rankings. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[2]- Tim Cahill Profile. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[3]- Rookwood, Dan. “Shooting star: Tim Cahill.” 2 April 2009. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[4]- About Tim Cahill. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[5]- Tim Cahill Biography. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[6]- Millwall. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[7]- Tim Cahill. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[8]- Tim Cahill Midfielder. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[9]- “Everton’s Tim Cahill completes New York Red Bulls move.” 26 July 2012. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[10]- Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill named to Major League Soccer Best XI. 3 December 2013 Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[11]- Socceroos Career. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[12]- Ritchie, Joel. “Cahill toasts the coast.” 17 October 2008. Accessed on 3 December 2013.

[13]- UNICEF Inspired Gift. Accessed on 3 December 2013.


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