At just 24 years of age, Sam Kerr is on a winning streak. Not only has she just been nominated, for the second time round, FIFA woman’s player of the year award, but earlier this month she also became the first woman to score 50 goals in the National Woman’s Soccer League.
Sam also scored herself an award that she has dreamed of winning ever since she was a child - an ESPY for best international soccer player in Los Angeles a few weeks back.
But for the WA born athlete, the industry still has a long way to go, particularly when female players still have to juggle careers and sport and don’t have the funding required.
‘So much needs to change, it’s a far way off and it will take a long time,’ admits Sam.
‘Hopefully things will improve, and women will be able to focus solely on their game,’ she adds.
The Matildas player who currently is based overseas, remains tight-lipped on whether she’ll leave Australia for good now that her profile is rising so much on an international scale.
‘My future hasn’t been decided, it’s a hard one to talk about when there’s so much in the air right now,’ she says.
Right now, Sam is busy focusing on preparing for the world cup next year. ‘There’s lots on until France, I’m taking everything as it comes really and trying not to get too stressed. Support from my family and friends means so much to me at this time. Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today,’ she admits.
For her friends and family mean the world to her and she never wants to lose touch of that part of her life. Sam previously admitted, ‘when you play sport and your face is in the newspapers and you're on TV, it's easy for an athlete to think they're bigger than they are. I never want to be someone my friends and family.’
Even when we discuss the possibility of the FIFA win, Sam remains very grounded. ‘It would be huge honour, it’s awesome to be nominated, it’s always nice to get lots of votes, but it’s the best person that has to win in the end, and whether or not that’s me, it doesn’t matter.’
Part of Sam’s success could possibly arise from how she mentally prepares before a game - unlike other elite players, she tries to avoid visualising scoring goals and instead it’s all about decluttering her mind.
‘I stay relaxed and go out for coffee and chill… I try not to play the game out in my head like other athletes do,’ Sam reveals.
And simplifying matters appears to work well for Sam. In 2015 she suffered a massive injury, a Lisfranc fracture, a rupture of the tendon that supports the bones and was told that she may never play again. It was a devasting blow and Sam previously admitted, ‘I didn't understand how much football was a part of my life. I guess I took it for granted – and all the opportunities it's given me.’
Today, she’s fast becoming a role model to young aspiring female football players. ‘Be yourself, work hard, keep working hard always,’ she advises.
To vote for Sam for FIFA woman’s player of the year award simply click here and add your submission by August 10.