Matildas striker Sam Kerr is on top of the world today, after being named Young Australian of the Year. Speaking to Who, the 24-year-old rising star revealed that she is very much a woman on a mission.
The Australia Day honour is the latest moment of glory for the Aussie football player, who has just been headhunted to play with the Chicago Red Stars in the coming months, wrapped up her best year in 2017 with Australia’s national Matildas team, and was named Asia's best female player at the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) awards in November.
"Enjoy the moment," says Sam of her philosophy. "Sometimes, I will be on the field and playing in front of a huge crowd, and I just stop and take in the moment and enjoy exactly where I am.
“We (the Matildas) look to each other for inspiration. Everyone has things going on in their lives, and yet they still pull on their boots every week, play well and give it their very best.”
“You have to learn it’s always going to change, no matter what, so learn to enjoy the moment. It could be your very worst day, but there will always be another day and another chance. If you can pick yourself up, you’ll always have another chance.”
Now, she has more horizons in her sights for the coming decade – with her ultimate dream of Australia hosting the World Cup in 2022. Until then, however, she is facing a packed agenda.
“We have the Algarve Cup in Portugal in March and then the Asian Cup in Jordan,” she says.
“The Asian Cup is a World Cup qualifier and our biggest tournament since the Olympic Games, so I pretty excited about going into that.”
Once the two tournaments are done, Freemantle-born Sam, 24, will be packing up her home in Western Australia and moving to the US to play with the Chicago Red Stars.
Not that she is about to give up flying the green and gold Aussie flag with the Matildas any time soon.
“I will be based in Chicago, but when the Matildas are playing, I will fly back and be on the team,” she says.
Sam has emerged as one of the new breed of female sporting heroes of Aussie sports, and has been acclaimed by veteran ABC sports commentator Tracey Holmes as the greatest soccer player in the country. As for the title, Sam admits she’s not so convinced.
“I still think I am a long, long way from being the best in Australia, but it’s nice that people think that,” she says.
“What I am really enjoying is that our girls on the team are great role models for the sport, and we know we are living through, and a part of, changing times. And that’s pretty exciting.”
As for the future, Kerr estimates she has another decade in her career if she continues to work at maintaining her fitness to play. And she plans a grand finale to her playing days with a knockout double of the World Cup in 2022 and the Olympic Games in 2024.
“Wouldn’t that be a great way to bow out,” she says. “I will be around 32 by then, so I hope I will be still playing well.
“But I’m not prepared to get too far ahead of myself, as this is a great time of my life right now. I am just taking every day as it comes."