Australian superstar Kerr enters Ronaldo’s orbit - GulfToday

Australian superstar Kerr enters Ronaldo’s orbit

Sam-Kerr

Sam Kerr, the all-time leading scorer in the US National Women’s Soccer League, has twice been shortlisted for FIFA player of the year.

Sydney: Sam Kerr’s star has been shining so brightly since her Australia debut at just 15 that she has become not only one of global football’s elite players but one of its most marketable faces.

Kerr is the all-time leading scorer in the US National Women’s Soccer League. She has twice been shortlisted for FIFA player of the year. And earlier this year the forward was the female face alongside five-time Ballon d’Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and 2018 World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe at the launch of sportswear giant Nike’s latest boot campaign.

Kerr first played in the Women’s World Cup as a teenager in 2011 in Germany and the 25-year-old scored on Sunday in her ninth finals game for the Matildas, albeit in a shock opening 2-1 defeat to Italy in Valenciennes.

She is reportedly on course to become the first Australian woman footballer to earn more than a million dollars a year, as her profile soars.

It could have been very different. Born to an Indian father and Australian mother, she played Aussie Rules in Western Australia as a youngster and was convinced she would one day represent her beloved West Coast Eagles, like her brother.

She switched to football aged 12 and made her debut for the Matildas as a substitute against Italy in 2009 before she was even 16.

She admits that shifting from Australian Rules -- where there was little hope of earning a living as a woman -- was not easy.

 She made her debut for the W-League’s Perth Glory at 15 and spent four years at the club before moving to Sydney FC.

Known for her pace, agility and heading ability, as well as her trademark backflip goal celebrations, Kerr headed to the US in 2013, first to Western New York Flash, then Sky Blue FC in New Jersey and now Chicago. Her strike on Sunday took her tally to 32 goals in 78 appearances for the Matildas.

Australia will probably need her to add to that record in the crucial second Group C match against Brazil in Montpellier on Thursday -- a match the Matildas now dare not lose.

Agence France-Presse