Sam Kerr’s rise to the top of the women’s game after Chelsea contract decision – Football News

Sam Kerr’s rise to the top of the women’s game after Chelsea contract decision

Few names are more recognisable in the world of women’s football than Chelsea and Australia forward Sam Kerr.

The 30-year-old is renowned as one of the most clinical and dangerous strikers in the game and her track record for both club and country certainly attests to that. She is currently the all–time leading goalscorer for Australia, man or woman, after she surpassed Tim Cahill’s record a little over two years ago.

The anxiety felt among Chelsea fans upon the conclusion of last season was palpable. After losing the WSL’s longest-serving manager in Emma Hayes, they faced the prospect of also losing their star striker as she entered the final months of her contract in west London.

Any fears were put to bed last week, although not without a sneaky trick to scare people into thinking she was leaving. 30 minutes after releasing a snippet of an emotional interview with Kerr, the club confirmed she will remain with the WSL champions until the summer of 2026.

She joked at the end of the announcement: “Did you guys really think I was going to end on 99 goals?”

Despite suffering an ACL injury in January and missing the end of the previous campaign, while she is also set to miss this summer’s Olympics for Australia, Kerr still has plenty of history to write for her club in the coming years. While there is now significant competition for places among Chelsea’s attacking ranks, with the likes of Catarina Macario and Mayra Ramirez also battling for places, it will take a lot for Kerr’s influence and contributions to be matched.

The striker grew up in a small suburb of Perth in Western Australia and it wasn’t until her early teenage years that she truly fell in love with the game. Kerr began her senior career with local side Perth Glory and made her debut at just 15 years of age, before moving to the United States in 2013 to join Western New York Flash.

Her head coach at the time, Aaran Lines, spoke highly of the then 20-year-old and tipped her to become one of the world’s best. “Let’s not forget she’s only 20 years old. What’s that in America, a sophomore in college?” Lines was quoted in USA Today. “With her attributes — her speed, athleticism and instincts – if she continues to develop at the rate she is, Sam can become one of the best strikers in the world.”

Sam Kerr

Sam Kerr celebrates after Chelsea’s FA Cup triumph in 2022/23 / Marc Atkins/GettyImages

Kerr did exactly that as she had spells at Sky Blue FC and Chicago Red Stars. She was already a senior international for her country as she made her Australia debut in 2009 at just 15 years of age. She has gone on to represent the Matildas at two Asian Cups, four World Cups and an Olympic games.

By 2019, Kerr was ready to make the move to Europe and she wasn’t short of suitors with French giants Olympique Lyonnais among the clubs pushing for her signature. However, it was Chelsea who won the race and she signed for the London club ahead of the second half of the 2019/20 campaign.

She made her debut for the club in a WSL meeting with Reading at Kingsmeadow. She then scored her first league goal a couple of weeks later in a 4-1 win against Arsenal at Meadow Park.

Kerr’s four years at Chelsea so far have been extremely successful and trophy-laden. She has five league titles to her name, three FA Cups and two League Cups. The striker also helped the Blues reach their first ever Champions League final in the 2020/21 campaign.

Her 99 goals for Chelsea include cup final winners and crucial strikes against rivals in numerous title races. Former manager Hayes summed up her influence best after her individual brilliance was the difference in their 2023 FA Cup final triumph over Manchester United at Wembley.

“I’ve never coached a player like [Sam Kerr],” Hayes told the media after the game. “A player that has such conviction, confidence and courage with the way she attacks everything. But what I love about Sam is that she’s willing to take responsibility at the top of the pitch.”

The fact Kerr’s absence wasn’t as sorely felt as it should have been in the second half of last season is testament to Chelsea’s incredible depth in forward areas. But, when she returns to the pitch after recovering from her ACL injury, it will be a welcomed boost for her teammates and new manager Sonia Bompastor.

Chelsea face a significant task ahead to make it six league titles in a row in light of the ever-growing strength of the WSL teams around them. In Europe, Bompastor will be tasked with finally succeeding in the Champions League and winning the one piece of silverware that has seemingly always evaded the club.

Kerr’s return from injury and the competition for places will be integral to any success Chelsea enjoy next term. The Australian international’s experience and know-how to deliver in the biggest moments on the biggest of stages cannot be understated, which makes her contract renewal this summer possibly the best piece of business they could have possibly wrapped up.


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