When it comes to Australian sport and football, Sam Kerr is an enormously popular and respected figure.
Awarded as 2017 ABC Sports Personality of the Year and 2018 Young Australian of the Year, the Matildas captain is widely considered one of the best players in women’s football across the globe. In June she will proudly lead Australia onto the pitch at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019™.
Since bursting onto the scene as a 15-year-old, Kerr has represented Australia 76 times, including at two FIFA Women’s World Cups (2011 and 2015), three AFC Women's Asian Cups (2010, 2014 and 2018) and the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.
It is Kerr’s international tournament experience that has the dynamic forward #Onside for Australia’s Bid to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023™.
“The Women's World Cup to me is the pinnacle of our sport, and the pinnacle of my dreams too,” said Kerr.
“It is what I have worked towards for my whole life and it would mean everything to host a FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil.
“It would be a proud moment for all us girls that've been in the game for so long, working towards getting this kind of recognition for the game.”
On the field Kerr is a force of nature and goalscoring machine. Her attacking prowess has seen her twice awarded the Julie Dolan Medal for the W-League Player of the Year, voted the 2017 NWSL Most Valuable Player in the USA, and claiming two W-League Golden Boots and two NWSL Golden Boots.
For all the on-field accolades, it is the fan support and connection that energises the 25-year-old, particularly when playing at home.
“It's just a buzz playing in Australia and you can't replicate it anywhere else,” she said.
“To be playing in front of your family and friends is one thing but to be playing in front of 10,000 plus people that are all on your side is such an amazing experience.
“To have that kind of home support at a World Cup in Australia would be unbelievable. It gives me chills just thinking about it.”
Matildas fans at the 2019 Cup of Nations
Since beginning her football career as a 13-year-old at the Western Knights, the West Australian has seen the growth of Australian football and the women’s side of the game. With 1.85 million participants, football is Australia’s most popular participation sport.
However, with Australians from all walks of life still discovering the game, and recent government commitments to facilities funding at state and federal level, there remains significant growth potential for football.
It is this limitless future for the sport that has Kerr excited, saying:
I believe in the potential of football because there's still so much in front of us that we can conquer, that we can achieve and that we can grow towards.
“It doesn't matter where you've come from, who you are, what's going on in your life, there is no reason why you can't do whatever you put your heart to, and I think that's what we say about the Matildas too.”
“It's the world game, it's the best game in the world, and there's no reason why women's football can't grow to that level.”