World Cup and W-League title in Perth Glory marquee Samantha Kerr's sights
SYDNEY -- She is the poster girl of Australian soccer. The star of ad campaigns, previews, awards nights and, on Monday, she was standing shoulder to shoulder with Japan superstar Keisuke Honda as the face of the new season in Australia.
For the first time in its history, the eleventh season of the W-League will have a marquee name. Samantha May Kerr from East Fremantle, Western Australia -- one of the finest players on the planet.
"Being marquee is something I'm really proud of," Kerr said at the season launch on Monday. "Hopefully one day we can get the league into a position where every club has a marquee player.
"All the girls here feel a responsibility to represent ourselves well. We love this league.
"I don't really feel any pressure with the marquee name. Hopefully people will be focusing so much on me, it lets my teammates step up and score!"
For Kerr, returning to Perth for another season was not a simple decision, with the two-time NWSL golden boot winner in high demand around the world. Kerr admits that she spoke to a number of European clubs -- "Sorry. I can't say who" -- before deciding that another season in Australia, and in her hometown, would be the best fit for her ahead of the 2019 Women's World Cup.
"I'm really happy to be back at home, and be comfortable in my life," Kerr said. "It's a massive year with the World Cup coming and I really needed to be happy with where I was, and when I'm happy off the field I play my best football."
After a whirlwind two years that have seen accolades at the ESPY's, nominations at the FIFA Best and Ballon d'Or awards, and a deluge of person recognition ranging from Asian Player of the Year all the way to Young Australian of the Year, Kerr returns home with the aim of leading Perth Glory to a W-league crown.
"Coming home, and everything that comes with that, [winning the title] really would be the icing on the cake," she said.
It's all a far cry from when Kerr made her debut as a 15-year-old for the Glory in 2009. She left for the east coast and won the title with Sydney FC in 2013, scoring in the Grand Final. But a return to Glory the following year saw heartache with two Grand Final defeats, both of which Kerr missed out on through injury.
All the while her reputation internationally blossomed, with a prolific stint at Sky Blue FC resulting in the 2017 NWSL Golden Boot and MVP awards. A move to Chicago for 2018 followed, as did a second top scorer title, and it's move that has invigorated the 25 year old as she looks to the future.
"I had to move this year and I didn't know if I'd like Chicago, but I loved it and I'll do another year in Chicago for sure," Kerr said.
"I've thought about Europe and I think I will eventually get out and play, next year or in a couple of years."
And with an important nine months ahead, Kerr has singled out the main advantage to coming home to play.
"Less cooking my own dinners!"