Sam Kerr: “it's been a growing year for me”
Sam Kerr has been in the national team set up since she was 15 years old.
Now over a decade on, things have shifted seismically not only for Kerr but for the women’s game as a whole.
“I think I'm a totally different player and person, I was just a kid when I came in.” Kerr told matildas.com.au from camp in the Netherlands.
“I had no idea what I wanted to do, what I wanted to be or where I was going. I think now, I have a clear mind of what I want to do and where I want to be and where I see myself and I'm just a totally different player.”
"I think I was just a raw talent back then. And now I think I understand what my strengths are, what my weaknesses are. I just know so much more about the game and now I go into a game with the plan and a real idea about what I want to do."
The growth that Kerr has experienced recently comes off the back of some pretty remarkable achievements. Her move to FA WSL side Chelsea at the end of 2019 was one of the biggest transfers in women’s football history.
“I think it's a positive. I think the coolest part about my move was that I'd never really seen that much media attention about a female transfer. So to be a part of that was really incredible. And something I'm really, really proud of."
The Westfield Matildas captain has been firing on all cylinders in a Chelsea side that has taken out the Community Shield and Conti Cup, is currently top of the league, and is through to the semi finals of the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
The pandemic has created challenges no one could have anticipated but Kerr has dealt with those and has settled into the familiar role of prolific goal scorer. She’s netted 12 times and produced five assists in her last 10 games across all competitions for the Blues.
"I think there was challenges definitely, for sure, but that's why I moved to England to face those challenges. And I've been playing really well the last few months. So I feel like it's been the best move I could have possibly made and everyone deals with it differently."
"But I think it took me a little bit longer but I'm proud to say I came out the other side much better."
"It's been just dealing with things week to week, day by day, even. Things can change so quickly, but for me on the pitch, it's been really enjoyable."
"We've been playing really well, winning a lot of games. It's been a growing year for me. But it's also been really, really enjoyable."
While it has been an incredibly successful time, it has also been an intensely football heavy time for Kerr.
"It's one of those things where, as a footballer, life is so intense. And then during this pandemic, it's been just about football. So I've always been a footballer that likes to have a release from football and the last 15 months it's been football, football, football."
“So for me, it's been intense the last 15 months, especially not being able to go out and do those things that I like to do, have a coffee even. We've been in lockdown for almost 10 months I feel like in England, so it's been difficult, but I've really enjoyed I feel like I've learned a lot.”
Luckily, Kerr has had a furry friend to keep her company during the lockdowns.
“Helen has been my lifesaver. I mean having a companion is just everything right? And coming home, she's just a cat, but when she just gives me a little meow and says hello, in the mornings or the afternoons, your cats and your dogs are just your life really. And she's definitely become a big part of my life.”
Kerr will be looking to put all she has learnt into practice when Australia take on Germany and the Netherlands in these upcoming friendly matches.
This camp provides an opportunity to begin preparing for the Tokyo Olympics but also a much needed catch up for a team that hasn’t been together in over a year.
"Yeah, it was odd. I think the Matildas have a really good team culture. We're really close. So we all stayed in touch. But it was just different not being able to meet up every month and get a bit of a break from your club team.”
“Sometimes those environments can be really intense and coming into the Matildas feels like a real family feel. So it was tough, especially with everything going on around the world. But like I said, it's just great to be back in now.”