Australian footballer Sam Kerr was just 13 years old when she was talent-spotted by Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski in 2007—the last year an English women’s club lifted the Champions League trophy.
That Arsenal squad went on to become the first – and still only – English side to win a quadruple, an achievement Kerr and her Chelsea team-mates will move one step closer to matching with a win over Barcelona in Sunday’s final.
To do so the Blues, who claimed the League Cup in March, will rely heavily on the forward who was honoured with her sixth golden boot in five years after Chelsea walked away with the Barclays FA Women’s Super League title last weekend.
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The 27-year-old, who was courted by multiple European clubs before signing with the London side, felt the chance to make history in the northern hemisphere was an extra incentive.
She said: “I think whenever you’re doing something that hasn’t been done before, it’s a little bit extra special. So for us is it a really proud moment, we are the first Chelsea women’s team to get to the final so it’s a special moment.
“But we haven’t won anything yet. So it’s special, but we’ve still got more to go.”
Kerr made her international debut for Australia’s senior team at 15 years old and now leads the Matildas as captain. The striker spent stints with Western New York Flash, Sky Blue FC and Chicago Red Stars before signing with Chelsea in November 2019.
She said: “The US suited who I am as a player and coming here [to Chelsea] I’ve had to adapt, and I think that’s mostly how I’ve grown as a player.
This team’s incredibly talented and it’s hard to make the starting team so we’re pushing each other.
“I feel like this is probably the best Chelsea team I’ve ever seen and it’s definitely the best team I’ve ever been a part of.”
Barcelona’s captain Vicky Losada has first-hand knowledge of how dangerous Kerr can be, having played for Western New York Flash together back in 2014.
Kerr’s dynamic partnership with team-mate Fran Kirby has earned the duo the portmanteau ‘Kerrby’ and will pose double danger to the Spanish side.
“Fran, I feel like we’re very, very similar,” Kerr said. “We want to play quickly, one-two touch. That only is a positive for me and Fran, that we’re playing so well together.
“It’s quite scary for other teams because I feel like when we play quick, and we play fast that no one can get near us.
It’s an amazing thing to be on the same page with someone like that. Like, literally, I don’t even have to look. I just know that Fran’s going to be there because she’s so hungry to score and it looks telepathic. But it’s just hard work from her.”
Kerr earned her sixth golden boot – the same number as Lionel Messi – having scored 21 goals in 22 games this season, dethroning Arsenal’s Vivianne Miedema as the WSL’s top goal scorer in the process.
“I don’t think I am close to his [Messi’s] level yet,” Kerr said, laughing.
“I think it is cool that people are talking about men’s footballers and women’s footballers in the same level. At the end of the day, we are all just footballers – only he’s a legend and probably one of the greatest of all time!”
Although, with two Super League titles, an FA Community Shield, a League Cup and a possible UEFA Champions League trophy in her back pocket, legend status doesn’t seem so far off for the Aussie, either.
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