'I never thought women's sport would come this far' - Sam Kerr 'buzzing' ahead of dream World Cup

Sam Kerr Matildas

She is the 2018 Young Australian of the Year and a Ballon d’Or nominee. She’s also the all-time top scorer in both Australia’s W-League and America’s National Women’s Soccer League.

But 10 years after making her international debut, Australia captain Sam Kerr has more dreams to realise – starting this summer in France.

“I dream about lifting that World Cup trophy and being a world champion,” she admits. “Having the country proud of the team and me.”

The 25-year-old has long since earned the pride of her compatriots, Kerr is a superstar, both at home and abroad, spending part of the year with Perth Glory and part in the USA, where she currently represents Chicago Red Stars.

In the past two years, she has won back-to-back golden boots – in both leagues. It’s no wonder, then, that replica kits with her name on are flying out of the club shop as fans pay their own tribute to a global megastar.

And all eyes will be on her when she leads the Matildas into this summer’s World Cup, having been given the armband earlier this year by new coach Ante Milicic. Australia have never before progressed beyond the quarter-finals at a Women’s World Cup, but in Kerr they have a player who could fire them into unchartered territory.

“I think it's going to be a bit of a different World Cup for us, but we're ready for it,” she promises. “We've been working for this for four years and the girls are buzzing for it.”

Australia may not go into the tournament as one of the favourites, but Kerr’s presence and the stardust she offers has certainly boosted their profile. And she is already proving herself a leader, far from perturbed by the spotlight.

“I always just try to have fun, whatever I'm doing, and that's something I do on the field too,” she reveals. ”So for me it's an honour to be at a World Cup - and it's a moment I've lived for my whole life.

"So hopefully I can have a good impact on the team. There's no pressure from outside - other than the pressure I put on myself.”

Sam Kerr GFX

One of Kerr’s role models as a child was Olympic champion sprinter Cathy Freeman, who she describes as someone “who was breaking down barriers 20 years ago for female sport.” Now, though, she names her team-mates – and even opponents – as the women she admires most.

“I have so many inspiring girls in my team, in the league, and so many people I look up to,” she says. “I'm really lucky I get to work with lots of inspiring females.”

Kerr thinks the summer could mark a new era for women’s football in Australia – and women’s sport worldwide.

“I never thought that female sport and football would take these steps that it has so quickly and this is something I've dreamed of,” she admits. “It's going to be a dream come true, this, France, because I think it will be the biggest turning point for women's sport.”

And Kerr will be among those leading the way, with her greatest achievement yet now just over the horizon. At 25, she is already an idol. By 26, she could yet be a bonfide Aussie legend.

Sam Kerr was speaking at Nike's Women's World Cup event in Paris.