WHEN the FIFA World Cup kicks off in Brazil next month, the Kiama Municipality will have an additional reason to cheer on the Socceroos.
Gerringong 30-year-old Joel Freeme, will have the high-profile role as manager of the national side at the world's biggest sporting event.
After joining their 30-man squad in camp he said the excitement was building.
"All the planning has now been done; it is just a matter of ticking off the days before we leave and making sure we as well prepared as we can be," Freeme said last week.
"I think that by the end of this week I might feel more like a 35-year-old. It has been hectic, but the excitement in camp is electric - the whole squad just can't wait."
Freeme's family moved to Gerringong when he was in year 2 at school.
He played junior soccer with Gerringong, progressing to the Southern Branch under-16s before returning to play with his home town.
He felt there needed to be some sort of measure put in place to bridge the gap between under-16s and the higher levels.
"I think there are a lot of players who could have gone further, but after playing for Southern 16s, unless they are picked up by NSL clubs, they just go back and play grade with their clubs."
After leaving school he enrolled in a sports management course at the University of Canberra, with his big break coming during the third year of his course while doing work experience as part of his course with Rowing Australia.
"I finished up working full-time and studying for a year while with Rowing Australia.
"I eventually moved to Football Australia, where I filled a variety of roles from national teams manager, working with futsal, the Australian Joeys and the Matildas women's team before being appointed assistant Socceroos manager.
"Three weeks ago the manager resigned, so I have been appointed interim manager and couldn't be more thrilled.
"I have just come back from a week in Brazil where I went to check out our playing venues.
"I visited five cities in six days and while it was pretty hectic I suppose someone had to do it," he said with a grin.
"Our team base in Vitoria is great.
"I think a few other nations would be jealous."