Just how much of a game-changer is Sam Kerr? Consider this: her feats and spectacular form over the past 12 months have her placed as Australia’s highestprofile football player. (By this we mean soccer, but Australian women’s footballer of any code would’ve worked, too.) Traditionally the home-grown doyens of the roundball game who we’ve worshipped have been men: Craig Johnson, Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer and Tim Cahill on anyone’s walls growing up? And rightly so, they were all freakishly talented and worthy of our praise. But things are different now.
In front of packed houses, from Penrith for the Matildas to Perth as she electrifies for the Glory, or in the US where she dominates for the Chicago Red Stars, this 25-year-old star forward, who led the Matildas’ charge to the 2018 Asian Cup final, has also changed the scope of what’s possible for Australian football. Cast your mind back to the bad ol’ days when the Socceroos suffered their routine heartbreak in narrowly stumbling at the final hurdle of World Cup qualification. Compare that to today, when Kerr, an Aussie, is the number-one female player in the world, and it gives you some idea of the strides the local game has made over the last few decades.
Kerr is a definite game-changer on the field. There are many in her sport who claim they rarely see players with the all-round skill, ability and speed of Kerr. Rivals never quite know what she’s going to do, such is her unpredictable playing style. Kerr is physically strong, often pushing players off the ball in pursuit of possession. Offers Utah Royals FC’s Kelley O’Hara to Lifetime: “Sometimes you get a more one-dimensional player; you can kind of negate the strongest part of their game; whether they’re a very tactical, technical player or very athletic. Whereas, when you have someone like Sam, who possesses everything, if you shut down one thing, she’s just going to beat you at another.”
Best of luck to the rest of the planet at this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup then …
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