Tim Cahill says a homecoming to play in the Australian A league wasn't in the cards, but he does plan to suit up for Australia in the 2014 World Cup.
Cahill, who was introduced as the newest member of the New York Red Bulls at a news conference on Monday, said at this point in his career he decided to try Major League Soccer (MLS) because it "would have been a step backwards" to return to his native Australia.
"And that's no disrespect. It is basically I want to still play at a high level," said Cahill. "There is still a World Cup for me to play in and qualify for the Australian team.
"I didn't speak to any A level clubs and it was never in my plans."
The 32-year-old Cahill said Monday he is ready to launch the New York phase of his career after signing with the Red Bulls last week.
Cahill, who joins international stars Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, decided to leave Everton FC in the English Premier League after eight seasons of being the club's most popular player.
Cahill, of Sydney, said he does want to help grow the sport in Australia by becoming more involved at the grass roots level.
The midfielder met with reporters at the Red Bull Arena on Monday. He had to spend four days in Montreal, Canada as his arrival in New York was delayed because of problems getting his American work visa.
Cahill will make his debut with his new club Tuesday in an international friendly against Tottenham Hotspur FC.
"It was nice to know that people here care that much," Cahill said. "It's nice to know that people worked hard to get me here.
"In that respect, waiting for the visa wasn't that bad. It was crazy. I had about six flights here and there, not knowing where I was going. But I'm here now, ready to go.
"I knew in my heart that I could never play for another Premier club," Cahill said. "I've always been loyal. It's a big move for me. A lot of people may think otherwise, but I'm 32, fit, and ready for a new challenge."
"I spent 15 years in England, playing in the most powerful league and I did so with loyalty.
"It was really special to play there. I found it hard to field offers other offers, because it would have been hard to play against the club you love. I'm going to miss the lads and the fans.
"But I'm not going to miss the weather."
Cahill says he has only visited New York once before, but is looking forward to living there with his family.
"It's a glamorous city and a great place to be," Cahill said. "I am going to watch the NBA, go to Yankee games, see the NFL, things I can do with my kids."
The Red Bulls were already a strong team before acquiring Cahill. New York is 11-6-5 with 38 points, good for first place in the Eastern Conference.
"It's a great sign for us," coach Hans Backe said. "I've seen Tim play in Europe for many years with Everton. He's a great striker and midfielder who can go box-to-box. He's also guaranteed to give 100 percent."