After years of agonising about whether to crack the tough Europe market, Sam Kerr will decide this week on which club has won over Australia’s best.
- Sam Kerr says she is “nearly there” on a deal with a European club
- The Matildas superstar was also named MVP of the American league earlier this year
- She says the FFA pay deal is great news, but also leaves the team with “no excuses” for underperforming
The superstar striker said a deal is “nearly there”.
“It’s been a long process for me for a few years in making this decision … I’ll be able to make that decision in the next week or so and be really confident in that,” Kerr said.
Kerr had plenty of suitors, but getting game time at the highest level is the priority.
“There’s been a few options I’ve looked closely at, but I’ve cut it down to one or two,” she said.
“I don’t know anyone in Europe.”
The 26-year-old knows getting out of her comfort zone is the best move to grow her game.
“It’s a really professional environment. They have huge clubs, huge backings behind them — it’s just a different world to America or Australia,” she said.
“You’re playing 50 games a year with your club, which is unusual for us Australians.”
It sounds exhausting, but after eight years of playing back-to-back seasons in the W-league and the American National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) the change will be a welcome break.
“I’m getting older and starting to realise I need that mental break more than anything,” she said.
“That was a big pull for me to Europe, giving me scheduled time away from the game is really important.”
Despite already being considered among the best in the world, playing at the top level could be the catalyst for something incredible.
“Everywhere she’s been — she’s dominated, Australia’s very fortunate to have a player of her calibre and I look forward to see what she does and to get the recognition she deserves on the world stage,” Matildas coach Ante Milicic said.
Kerr is one of several Matildas to head to leave the domestic competition for football’s epicentre, but Kerr does not see it as a threat to the W-League.
“The W-League is a great place to play to find your feet, but I am sure there will still be a bunch of Matildas still playing in the W-League,” she said.
Cashed-up Matildas to play first game since World Cup knockout
This Saturday marks the squads’ first big test since June’s disappointing World Cup quarter-final exit when they take on Chile at Parramatta Stadium.
This week’s historic pay deal, which sees the Socceroos and Matildas receive an equal 24 per cent share of the national team generated revenue, has been a big confidence boost but comes with high expectations.
“It’s no excuses now, we’ve got a lot to prove and there’s going to be a lot more expectations,” Kerr said.
“Hopefully [the pay deal] makes other countries think about what they are doing in their federations too.”
The Chile match could be another milestone in what’s been a momentous week, with 20,000 fans expected — a record for a women’s international in Australia.
There have already been 16,000 tickets sold, just shy of the record of 16,829 set in 2017 against Brazil.
While there has never been a better time to be a female footballer in Australia, the coach believes there is room for improvement.
“With the W-League in Australia can we get more games, more full-time coaches, medical staff, facilities? When can we get to a point where that’s improving?” Milicic said.
“That’s going to be the difference if we want to catch up to the rest of the world.”