On July 26th Tim Cahill celebrated his second anniversary with the New York Red Bulls. “It’s amazing,” he said, “when you’re having fun, time flies.”
With a strong performance on the pitch for Australia in his third World Cup, including one of the tournament’s most memorable goals, an ESPY win, FIFA 15 cover, and second straight MLS All Star selection, this summer in particular for Cahill must be flying by.
On Wednesday Cahill will join teammates Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips at the MLS All Star match in Portland against FC Bayern Munich, his second All Star selection in as many years.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with Caleb Porter and some top-class players, and at the same time, testing our wits against world-class opposition.”
For Cahill, being named to the All Star roster is most gratifying, because the match is entirely for the fans.
“The fans are everything,” he said. “I’ve always had a close affinity to Everton and Millwall and now New York Red Bulls fans, and in general MLS fans, because they appreciate hard work. And I’m about the football and being an example on the pitch and hopefully letting that show through actions.”
Perhaps there is nowhere fans have appreciated Cahill’s action more than on the World Cup stage.
CAHILL AT THE WORLD CUP
“At 34 to have made my third World Cup was pretty special,” he said. “Being the oldest player in the team, being 34, and also being a major part of the leadership group – with Bresciano and Jedinak – was a massive honor.”
Along with the mantle of leadership, Brazil proved to be markedly different from the tournaments in South Africa and Germany for the Socceroos.
“It was different out of all three World Cups because it was a new team. Not really well known, a lot of young players,” he said. “For the team it was sort of a learning curve for where we were as a nation… and I have to admit, it’s the most complete we’ve ever played as a football team. Even though we didn’t win a game, we played some great football and left a great impression on all three games we played.”
A large part of that great impression is Cahill’s left-footed volley against the Netherlands, a stunning goal that won’t soon be forgotten.
Brazil’s legendary Ronaldo named it “the best goal of the World Cup,” one that’s “going to go down in history as one of the most beautiful World Cup goals.”
“People keep asking what I think about it,” Cahill said, “but when you have players like Cristiano Ronaldo and the Brazil Ronaldo talk about it as a great goal and one that’s going to be around forever its really humbling.”
“I think those are the moments in your career that you look for… I’ve played eight World Cup games and scored five World Cup goals, which, for an Australian, is a massive feat in itself. To get the goal the way I did was pretty special and something I’ll never forget. … It’s most definitely one of the best goals I’ve ever scored.”
Another game changer for this World Cup was social media.
THE SOCIAL CONNECTION
“It was the best thing when you’re locked up in a hotel for six weeks – beforehand, during the World Cup, and after – there are so many hours where you can’t go anywhere.”
Despite, “being inside four walls,” Cahill said, “I actually had an even stronger connection with the fans and an interaction that was unique... I felt a close connection with a lot of fans from New York, England, Asia, and America. It’s great because I think you can give an insight into something that’s never ever going to be known. The whole experience, hashtagging certain moments, throughout and even after really caught on and it was amazing.”
#TimCahilling was one of those hashtagging moments that caught on.
“I felt that Germany were the better team against Brazil and I knew there were going to be goals, but when you see the goals go in, that expression says it all.”
“It was genuine,” he said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever really taken a selfie, and with that in the background… I was like ‘wow, this is really happening.’ Not really much to explain. The whole world was speechless.”
Shortly after returning from World Cup duty, Cahill received the 2014 ESPY award for Best MLS Athlete.
“I think this is the biggest recognition as a footballer that you can get in America… When American fans acknowledge you as a footballer… especially when there was Magee and the others in the hat, to win is massive.”
“It’s something that I want to reflect to the fans especially what it means to have that is a big deal for me,” Cahill said. “The fans played a massive part in [my and the clubs] success.”
A tribute to Cahill’s success and enduring legacy is the FIFA 15 Australian cover with Lionel Messi.
“This is my sixth year on the cover of FIFA games,” he said. “I think it’s amazing. It’s the biggest selling game in the world, it’s the most popular game in the world, and most importantly, it’s a game everyone loves to play in their off time.”
“For me it’s great because not only am I representing Australia on the cover, I’m representing MLS. I’m massively humbled for the opportunity.”
CAHILL LOOKS AHEAD
Two years in, “but, it’s not over yet,” Cahill said. “Hopefully we can do something this year. If we don’t make the playoffs, it’ll be a massive travesty, purely for the fact that we’ve got a great team. We showed that against Arsenal.”
Summer is winding down and after a comeback win against the New England Revolution on Saturday, the Red Bulls sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
“It’s up to us now until the end of the season to justify finishing in the top five. And I’ll be honest with you; I seriously think that we can make the playoffs. If we just slip in the back door any way we can then it could be a big year for us.”
The Red Bulls next match is Sunday, August 10th against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Kickoff is at 8 PM, broadcast on MSG.