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Sam Kerr: How Chelsea striker’s legacy can encourage Australia at Ladies’s World Cup | Soccer Information

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Sam Kerr is already one of the recognisable gamers in world soccer. Her face adorns billboards, adverts and laptop video games as she prepares to steer Australia at a house World Cup.

Not solely does the Chelsea striker go into the event with successful on her thoughts, she’s additionally conscious she’s on the verge of making a sporting legacy many solely dream of.

She has achieved a number of milestones earlier than turning 30. Domestically, she has gained a number of trophies in Australia and England, successful the Golden Boot in each international locations in addition to the USA. Alongside this, she has additionally gained a number of Participant of the Season awards and stays the NWSL’s all-time scorer.

Internationally for Australia, Kerr is her nation’s all-time scorer, was the primary Australian to attain a hat-trick at a World Cup and is the joint highest-rated participant on FIFA.

Add to that main Australia to a World Cup on house soil and you’ve got an argument for the most effective gamers of a era.

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We have a look again in any respect the objectives scored by Ladies’s Footballer of the 12 months Sam Kerr within the Ladies’s Tremendous League this season

However Kerr is aware of the facility of efficiency can do greater than carry sporting success, however she hopes to be ‘remembered eternally’ for larger causes.

“I would like the Matildas to have a Cathy Freeman second,” Kerr insisted earlier than inspiring Australia to finish England’s 30-game unbeaten run in April.

Freeman famously gained gold within the 400m on the 2000 Olympics in Sydney with the burden of a nation on her shoulders. The second would go on to unite a rustic and do extra for participation than politicians may ever promise.

“Anybody round my age nowadays is aware of Cathy Freeman, remembers the place they have been, remembers when she gained that race,” Kerr stated. “I consider the Matildas can have that second after which go on from there.”

Australia will stroll out in entrance of greater than 80,000 followers in a sold-out World Cup opener in Sydney towards the Republic of Eire on July 20 and Kerr hopes it is going to be the beginning for the sport to get the monetary respect it deserves.

“You see the funding AFL, rugby, all these sports activities get earlier than girls’s soccer,” she added. “I believe it is about getting the cash into soccer to permit women to play, to permit women to have the alternatives to get to the place they wish to be.”

Kerr speaks actually in regards to the issues dealing with girls’s soccer in Australia, but it surely’s a state of affairs shared around the globe.

An inspiring efficiency on the worldwide stage may assist change the standing of the sport in additional locations than simply Australia and New Zealand.

Kerr added: “That is the legacy we wish to go away. That we encourage the nation, transfer the nation to consider in girls’s soccer and consider within the Matildas.”

It’s a sentiment echoed by Soccer Australia’s chief government James Johnson, who’s given Kerr the liberty to specific herself in methods many boardroom bosses wouldn’t.

“Sam’s a incredible particular person each on and off the pitch, she pushes lots of good social points and he or she’s very properly revered in Australia,” he informed Sky Sports activities.

“What you may see from the Matildas isn’t just nice performances on the pitch however we will make some factors off it.

“As soon as it is agreed the participant can specific themselves on sure points, particularly LGBTQI points which is on the tip of the Matildas’ tongue, they will do their work on the pitch.”

‘Huge sport Sam’

Australia's Sam Kerr celebrates after scoring against England
Sam Kerr scored towards England in a pleasant earlier this yr to sentence the Lionesses to their first defeat below Sarina Wiegman

It isn’t simply off the pitch the place Kerr’s affect is keenly felt – she additionally has a penchant for stepping up on the most important moments on the sphere too.

When Chelsea wanted wins to take the title on the ultimate day of the final two WSL seasons, Kerr stepped up.

Who scored the successful purpose within the FA Cup last? And who scored the one purpose to inflict England’s first defeat below Sarina Wiegman? You guessed it – Kerr.

And it isn’t simply on the grass the place her affect is made.

Drawing 0-0 at house to an unfancied Czech Republic in February, Kerr’s brutally trustworthy half-time crew speak gave her facet the rocket it wanted.

Sam Kerr celebrates after scoring for Chelsea in Women's FA Cup final
Sam Kerr scored for Chelsea within the Ladies’s FA Cup last – one of many many large objectives she has supplied since being on the membership

Australia head coach Tony Gustavsson remembers Kerr telling her fellow Matildas: “What if this was the opening sport of the World Cup with 80,000 within the stands?”

“Do not freak out, do not stress out. Consider within the plan, consider within the course of, consider in team-mates.”

The Matildas went on to win the sport 4-0.

“She could be the fervour and the center of the crew when wants be and drive individuals, demand and be that voice,” admits Gustavsson.

WSL legacy already in place

Whereas Kerr’s focus is on Australia for the foreseeable future, she goes into the event figuring out she has already intrinsically impacted the sport in England.

When she signed for Chelsea on the finish of 2019, few top-tier international stars have been within the Ladies’s Tremendous League.

Her big-money contract was seen as a danger by some at a time when Chelsea have been making an attempt to wrestle again the title from Arsenal.

Millie Bright and Sam Kerr celebrate with the WSL trophy
Sam Kerr helped Chelsea to a fourth successive WSL title in Could

Since then, Chelsea have gained 4 consecutive WSL titles, performed in a Champions League last and secured their standing as the perfect English crew of the skilled period.

“I would not commerce her for some other participant on this planet,” Chelsea coach Emma Hayes proclaimed after Kerr scored twice on the ultimate day of the season to assist Chelsea elevate their fourth consecutive WSL title in Could.

Within the final three seasons within the WSL, Kerr tops the charts in quite a few attacking metrics.

Sam Kerr

She has scored essentially the most objectives (53) – none of which have been penalties – with the very best variety of photographs (233), photographs on course (110) and massive possibilities scored (35).

Apparently, she has additionally gained the very best variety of aerial duels (132) in addition to notching up 16 assists – the eighth highest within the WSL over the past three seasons.

There’s a distinction in Kerr’s heatmaps for the previous couple of years too.

Within the 2020/21 season, Kerr performed way more over on the left-hand facet of the pitch, hardly ever venturing over to the fitting. She additionally has a big focus of play throughout the 18-yard field.

The next yr, she really spent extra time over to the right-hand facet of the pitch, with a much smaller space of exercise contained in the field, retaining herself very central.

However her largest distribution of taking part in all through the penalty space got here within the 2022/23 season, along with her width increasing throughout a lot of the field. she additionally spent little time on both facet – though the left simply edges it – as a substitute retaining way more central when exterior of the field.

She has additionally modified the marketplace for profitable strikers in England, in addition to Australian gamers within the WSL.

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Sam Kerr says the sensation of successful the WSL title will get higher yearly after she picked up her fourth consecutive title with Chelsea.

Forwards within the league now receives a commission greater than everybody else. Vivianne Miedema, Alessia Russo and Bunny Shaw’s new contracts have been all formed by the affect Kerr’s objectives and big-game moments have had on a single membership.

Twelve of Kerr’s team-mates in Australia’s provisional World Cup squad additionally performed in WSL final season – simply one other instance of the ‘Kerr impact’ on whoever she performs with.

It’s an affect that Kerr hopes will transcend the pitch this summer time. And with all she’s achieved to date, who’s to say we cannot be speaking a couple of ‘Kerr second’ inspiring a era in 20 years’ time?

What is the World Cup schedule?

The group stage will start on July 20 and run over a two-week interval ending on August 3 and see group winners and runners-up progress to the spherical of 16, which takes place from August 5 to August 8.

The quarter-finals, which will probably be held in Wellington, Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney, are scheduled for August 11 and 12.

The primary semi-final will then be performed on August 15 in Auckland, with the opposite semi-final happening on August 16 on the Accor Stadium in Sydney, which is able to then host the ultimate on August 20.

A 3rd-place play-off will probably be performed the day earlier than the ultimate on August 19 in Brisbane.

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