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Why Sam Kerr is Australia’s greatest ever footballer

Jayden Collins

| Last updated 

Why Sam Kerr is Australia’s greatest ever footballer

Sam Kerr is Australia’s greatest-ever footballer, period.

What a goal. That semi-final screamer is a moment I don't think any Australian will forget any time soon.

Despite only starting one game for the tournament, her influence both on and off the field was felt throughout Australia.

While it ultimately ended in heartbreak, Kerr showed that when Australia needed something special she is the one they call upon.


It's that sort of standard that has the Matildas' captain has become known for without her career, and makes her not just one of the greats but the great.

Australia has undoubtedly had some icons over the years, the likes of Tim Cahill, Mark Schwarzer, Harry Kewell, and Julie Dolan.

But there’s no doubt now that Sam Kerr is the standard bearer when it comes to this sport in this country - and here’s why.

She’s Australia’s most prolific international performer

Credit: Associated Press / Alamy
Credit: Associated Press / Alamy

Sam Kerr has led the Matildas to multiple important wins, leading by example and having the goalscorer record to match.

While undoubtedly, the likes of the aforementioned Cahill have put in important performances for the Socceroos, Kerr has been instrumental for Australia for almost 15 years now.

Selected as part of the 2010 Asian Cup squad as a 16-year-old - her first-ever international goal epitomises what she’s all about.


As a teenager, she scored her first-ever goal in a crucial group stage tie against South Korea and unleashed her trademark backflip celebration to the world.

She truly began to kick on in 2016 and 2017, with exquisite performances at the Rio Olympics and the Tournament of Nations.

By 2019 she was captaining the Matildas at the FIFA World Cup, and showcasing her scoring prowess once again.

With Matildas needing a win in the final game of the group stage against Jamaica, Kerr provided four goals (including the perfect hat trick) to help her team to the knockout stages.


At the 2020 Olympics, she scored six goals on the course to Australia’s first semi-final match at the tournament, hitting the back of the net against the likes of the United States, Great Britain, and Sweden.

Her ability to pounce on a loose ball, be in the right position, and ensure the ball nestles in the net, is second to none - not even Tim Cahill’s.

In January 2022, she surpassed the former Socceroos legend’s international goalscoring tally, with her 61st goal - cementing her status as Australia’s greatest international performer.

Despite having a tournament plagued with injury problems at the 2023 FIFA World Cup, she was leader off the field, and proved one she is one of the best players in the world with a semi-final strike that will be talked about for years to come.


Her domestic success with some of the greatest teams in the world

Credit: News Images LTD / Alamy
Credit: News Images LTD / Alamy

Australians have played for some pretty great teams in top-flight leagues.

Tim Cahill played for Everton, Aaron Mooy for Brighton, Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler for Manchester City, Harry Kewell for Liverpool, and Sam Kerr for Chelsea.

But none of them have had the success that Australia’s number 20 has had domestically.

At Chelsea alone she has been instrumental in winning the FA Women’s Super League, for four seasons in a row - that’s a dynasty in itself.

In the last three, the Blues have won the FA Cup as well, with Kerr scoring in all three finals, in fact, five goals in those games - she’s a big-time player.

Of course, goalscoring records, golden boots, and individual accolades have come along with that - but more on that later.

There’s no doubt she is key to so many teams’ success.

Even in her time in the formerly named W-League, she won the Premiership with Perth Glory in 2014, and the Championship with Sydney FC in 2013.

In the United States, which has arguably one of the best women’s leagues in the world, she was part of the Western New York Flash who earned the most points in the regular season in 2013.

And with the Chicago Red Stars in 2019 she helped the side to the final where they finished runner-up that season - and of course, she finished top goalscorer across the league.

She’s a perpetual winner, and a teammate any footballer would be lucky to have.

Her individual honours across world football

Credit: PA Images / Alamy
Credit: PA Images / Alamy

While she’s been part of so many brilliant football teams over her career, she still manages to stand out from the pack.

Individual honours have come her way everywhere that she’s gone.

From the beginning of her career, she was earmarked for success, winning the W-League Player’s Player of the Year in 2009 with Sydney FC, and again in 2014 with Sydney FC.

In Australia alone, she’s been named the PFA Australian Women’s Footballer of the Year on five separate occasions and had the honour of earning the Julie Dolan Medal twice.

Of course, her success hasn’t been limited to her home nation.

Over in the United States, she won the NWSL Golden Boot in 2017, 2018, and 2019, with the MVP award also coming on two occasions while playing with Chicago Red Stars.

Since moving to Chelsea in 2020, Sam Kerr’s star has shone especially bright.

On top of helping the Blues to dominant domestic success, she’s claimed the Golden Boot on two occasions with two 20+ goal hauls.

But that success hasn’t been limited to goalscoring, being named the Women’s Super League Player of the Season in 2021/22.

She’s undoubtedly pushed the English women’s league to new heights with her own performances.

In 2018 she became the first and only Australian to be nominated for the Ballon d’Or award - world football’s greatest honour.

And on two occasions she’s been named in the top three - which let’s be honest, she’s more than deserving of that top gong.

Not only for women’s football but for Australian football she has led the way.

Which leads us to our next reason…

She’s a trailblazer for not just women’s football but Australian football

Credit: Associated Press / Alamy
Credit: Associated Press / Alamy

Go to any corner of the country and people will know the name Sam Kerr.

Even in NRL or AFL-dominated spaces, people will undoubtedly know who Sam Kerr is.

Her influence in drawing crowds, audiences, and interest into the Matildas and the FIFA World Cup as a whole cannot be understated.

The moment she stepped onto the pitch against Denmark was one of the loudest reactions heard inside Stadium Australia, only to be topped by her wonder strike against England.

She’s Australia’s most known and most beloved footballer, male or female - which is also evident by how much she’s achieved as an Australian beyond being a footballer.

She led the Australian delegation at the Coronation of King Charles, was named Young Australian of the Year in 2018, and was even handed the Key to the City of Perth in 2022.

But it is her presence on the world stage that has really helped propel Australian football into the spotlight.

In 2023, she became the first female footballer to be on the global cover of the FIFA video game franchise, alongside superstar Kylian Mbappe.

A mammoth achievement that will go down in history - having an Australian alongside a World Champion.

On top of that she’s appeared alongside some of the greats of the game such as Neymar Jr, and Alex Scott for Nike commercials - and beyond that next to athletes such as Serena Williams.

While her minutes were limited, there's no doubt that the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup was Sam Kerr’s legacy moment.

The impact her and the Matildas will have on football in Australia will go beyond any footballing achievement in the tournament.

Countless young girls and boys will look up to her and the team for years to come.

She’s Australia’s most beloved sporting figure and will continue to carry the torch for her home nation on the world stage.

Featured Image Credit: Getty. MI News & Sport / Alamy.

Topics: Australia, Womens Football, Womens World Cup

Jayden Collins
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