As far as Australian Sam Kerr can go about playing soccer, her hatred for the sport was too great to begin with

As far as Australian Sam Kerr can go about playing soccer, her hatred for the sport was too great to begin with

Australian Sam Kerr in action during a friendly match against France in preparation for the World Cup.AFP photo

It is precisely the woman who has had nothing to do with football for so long, who should get more Australians to play football. Sam Kerr (29) would have preferred to continue playing Australian football, a sport similar to rugby, where her father and brother were both professionals. She also excelled at it, but after she was twelve there was no room for her. In her days there were no girls’ teams.

The current Chelsea forward even said “I hated football”, but continued to play the alternative sport because she was so good at it. So good was she that she became an Australian international at the age of 15, but love didn’t come until after she was out for twelve months following a cruciate ligament injury. “All I wanted after that was to get back on the field. You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.”

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Dirk Jacob Neubur, sports reporter De Volkskrant He writes about football and handball. He was a former Turkey correspondent and political journalist.

Ten years later, she’s ready to take her countrymen into the World Cup finals, which begin Thursday in Australia and New Zealand. She raised the bar high with Matilda – the nickname of Australian soccer players. They hope to repeat the “Cathy Freeman moment.” The 400-meter runner won gold at the Sydney Olympics. She was the first to do so, and her success has inspired many young Australians to take up the sport.

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“Everyone remembers where they were when Cathy ran that race,” Kerr, who was seven in 2000 and has Indian roots on his father’s side, said in an interview on the FIFA website. “To be able to put the weight of the nation on one’s back, I really liked it as a kid.”

tenth of the world

It would be a surprise if Australian footballers, 10th in the world rankings, won the title at this World Cup. But Kerr, who prefers to eat sandwiches with pasta before games, is the star who can make an underrated team outdo themselves.

She does so mainly with goals, which she regularly celebrates with a back flip. She has already scored 63 goals for the Australian national team, and holds the national record. She won the golden top scorer boot several times in both the Australian and American leagues, after which she moved to Chelsea in the winter of 2019-2020.

Sam Kerr engages in a duel to the head with Frenchman Aïssatou Tounkara.  AFP photo

Sam Kerr engages in a duel to the head with Frenchman Aïssatou Tounkara.AFP photo

That season, Vivian Miedema became the top scorer in the Women’s Premier League and Championship with her club, Arsenal. In the years that followed, Kerr took over, averaging two seasons only no goal per game. This year she got stuck scoring 12 goals in 21 matches, but Chelsea became champions for the third time in a row with her in the striker.


“She’s very strong,” said Dutch international Annik Noyen, who plays with her at Chelsea. She can do anything with her head. She is also very mobile, hardworking. When Nouwen confronts her in training, she can’t relax for a moment. “Especially when choosing a goal position, you really have to pay attention to where you’re going. She almost always makes the right decisions.

When Kerr first stood on a soccer field, she felt overwhelmed. She didn’t know the rules and wondered why no one had passed them on to her. A year later, all of her talents were discovered by the subsequent Australian national coach Alen Stajic. “She got the ball in her own half and ran with it for about seventy yards before she scored,” he recalled.

Kerr was still living with her parents in Perth when she made her debut for the Australian team against Italy in 2009. She told her parents not to come. I thought she would be on the bench anyway, but she came on in the 76th minute.

“I never realized how important that moment was,” she said. Another factor was that women’s soccer wasn’t much at the time, and she never thought it would bring her much. It was inconceivable, then, that a football star from Australia would end up on the cover of the Fifa23 soccer game. Not to mention, she’ll be getting her very own Lego figure and carrying the Australian flag at Charles’ coronation.

However, she hasn’t lost sight of Australian soccer, and still follows the sport closely. When a fan ran onto the Chelsea pitch a few days ago, Kerr gave him a jab. For her first love of sports, she received applause, and for the second she was punished with a yellow card.

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