SOCCEROOS and Everton star Tim Cahill says the arrival of his English Premier League side on Australian soil should serve as a warning to rival codes.
To see Tim in Sydney...
The Toffees will square off against A-League champions Sydney FC this Saturday night at ANZ Stadium before taking on Melbourne Heart on July 14 and Brisbane Roar three days later as part of the Everton Down Under series.
And Cahill, who will headline the visitors' line-up this weekend, believes the three-match tour proves the round-ball game is gaining ground on the other three football codes.
"I think we're ... one of the strongest codes in Australia," Cahill declared on Monday. "You see how much football's grown and the momentum of the last two World Cups.
"And having a Premier League team here and other Premier League teams coming here obviously shows how big the sport is growing."
Cahill, who was instrumental in making the pre-season tour happen, says his team-mates like what they've seen so far.
"Wherever we are we enjoy it but this is a fantastic place to do it and I'm very proud to be associated with it," he said.
"I'm proud and I think Everton's a great brand throughout the world. It's not all down to me, I think they assess the country, who we're playing against and the facilities and everyone's very impressed."
The Socceroos star was quick to allay fears he has not had a long enough break following the World Cup.
"I think for me I'm lucky, the gaffer is not putting me through my paces too much," the 30-year-old said.
"This is my country and I want to represent my country and my club as best as I possibly can but there's a program in place for me where I'm not getting flogged and they're very sensitive to me.
"I am getting my break and getting my right time (to recover) and obviously looking forward to being a part of this tour."
Everton manager David Moyes hopes the change of scenery will translate into early season success when the EPL gets underway in August.
"We've tended to choose America in recent years but we've not started the season too well in the last couple of years, so I'm hoping Australia brings us a bit of luck," Moyes said.
"Obviously Tim Cahill's a major part of that as well and we've got a lot of Everton supporters in Australia and I think with Timmy playing over here as well that's increased it, so it's good to come over here and meet them all."
But Cahill believes the A-league has the most to gain from the tour.
"I think it's just going to help the kids," he said. "Kids aspire to be footballers and this is one of the biggest teams in the Premier League.
"For Australian football it's massive, there's no bigger. So I look at what isn't it going to do."
Meanwhile, Moyes admits he still has a lot to learn about the A-League but predicts it won't be long before Australian clubs head over to England for similar pre-season tours.
"I don't know an awful lot about them (A-League teams) ... but you mustn't forget the biggest code in the world is soccer-football," Moyes said.
"You look at America, their teams come over to us for pre-season training ... so I think maybe it won't be long until the Australian teams are deciding to come over to England to do their pre-season."