Matil­das’ star very mind­ful of how to han­dle grow­ing fame Sam has feet on ground

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - EMMA KEMP

IF YOU spot Sam Kerr briefly stick­ing her head into her Matil­das shirt mid- match in Pen­rith to­day, you’ll have wit­nessed the Aus­tralian for­ward ground­ing her­self. Just for a split sec­ond. Then, if the sim­ple mind­ful­ness trick has done its job, she might fol­low it with one of those Sam Kerr mo­ments that shot her into the strato­sphere in the first place.

“I have a spe­cial Kerr says. thing,”

“We have a sports psy­chol­o­gist who works with us and my thing is that when­ever I’m think­ing about some­thing else and I catch my­self, I put my head in my top.

“So now you’ll see when I do that I was not pay­ing at­ten­tion or I’m frus­trated.

“It’s just about bring­ing my­self back to where I am and feel­ing my feet on the ground, kind of mind­ful­ness.”

By her own reck­on­ing, Kerr is “a bit of a free spirit”.

It’s what makes her foot­ball so cap­ti­vat­ing.

It’s also some­thing the 25year- old says ren­ders her eas­ily dis­tracted.

“I’m the worst, ask Staj,” she said. “I have to stay fo­cused and that’s some­thing I’ve hon­estly been work­ing on for ages.

“I’ve got bet­ter at it over the last two years and maybe that’s why my game has changed.”

A lot has cer­tainly changed in the year since Kerr and the Matil­das last played in Pen­rith and New­cas­tle in front of sell­out crowds, when she scored three times across two wins over archri­vals Brazil.

With the ac­co­lades has come a taste of global fame that still feels for­eign to the qui­etly spo­ken Perth na­tive.

“You al­ways want that as a kid. To be, I guess, known as a sports star,” she said.

“But it can be a bit con­front- ing some­times. I still haven’t got my head around walk­ing into some­where and peo­ple al­most star­ing at you.

“I can’t imag­ine be­ing some­one hugely fa­mous now, like a LeBron ( James).

“It’s full on, not so much in Syd­ney but where I’m from in Perth, I think be­cause of my brother ( for­mer West Coast Ea­gles cham­pion Daniel Kerr) and fam­ily be­ing well known in Perth it’s much greater.”

Kerr has an agent now to man­age the de­mand that comes with be­ing one of the world’s best play­ers ( not to men­tion the face of Nike) so the Perth Glory W- League mar­quee can con­cen­trate on the pitch in a World Cup year.

Right now the fo­cus is beat­ing Chile at Pan­thers Sta­dium to­day and McDon­ald Jones Sta­dium on Tues­day.

“You pre­fer to play in front of a home crowd when ev­ery­one’s on your side and maybe get a few ex­tra calls from the ref­eree,” Kerr said. “But it’s an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, es­pe­cially when the crowds are so big like they were last time.”

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