Sky's the limit for Super Sam

Kerr, DiBernardo and Mautz cropped
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When a female footballer is featured by the Huffington Post, you know she’s achieved something extraordinary.

And extraordinary is the only way to describe Sam Kerr’s current form in America’s National Women’s Soccer League.

Glory’s Westfield W-League skipper has been absolutely tearing it up for her US side Sky Blue FC, establishing herself as the NWSL’s all-time record goalscorer with a stunning hat-trick against FC Kansas City last weekend.

Kerr’s treble, which included a spectacular diving header, took her career tally in the competition to 34, but the grounded 23-year-old is not letting the hype catch up with her.

“I’ve just been trying to keep happy, keep healthy and stay on the field and the goals have been coming and the team has been winning, so it’s all good,” she said.

“It was great that we got the win [against Kansas] and I was stoked with that.

“My mum told me that the hat-trick was on the news at home and it was great to hear that.

“To be honest, landmarks such as being the league’s record goalscorer are more the sort of things that I’ll maybe look back on at the end of my career.

“It’s still the middle of the season and there are still people who can jump me.

“But when I’m older, at least I’ll be able to look back and say that I was once the record scorer in the NWSL.

“At the moment, though, it’s one of those things where I hope it doesn’t jinx me or slow me down and I can just keep scoring.

“There’s also a bit of luck involved and I’m fortunate to have two great teams behind me in Glory and Sky Blue FC.”

So is there any particular reason why the versatile attacker, who played a key role in driving Glory to last season’s Westfield W-League Grand Final, has illuminated the NWSL to such an extent that she took out the competition’s Player of the Month award for both May and June?

“After all my injuries I’ve changed the way I take care of my body and do my recovery,” she explained, “and it’s those little things that are helping me on the field.

“But the biggest thing for me is that if I’m happy off the field, I’m happy on the field, so it’s just a case of keeping my mind nice and relaxed away from the game.”

And it sounds as though summertime New Jersey is proving an ideal home away from home for the Perth local.

“We train in the morning because we’re all full-time,” she said, “and if we don’t have a double-session day, we’ll come home and maybe go to the beach if the weather’s nice.

“We live less than a kilometre from the beach and life here in Jersey is similar to Perth; it’s pretty relaxed.

“The first part of the season was pretty hectic because we had seven of our first 11 games away, so we haven’t spent much time here and I’m looking forward to the rest of the season when we have a run of home games.”

One of those home games is scheduled for Saturday when the third-placed Sky Blues will take on a Chicago Red Stars side currently running second, two points above them.

And the high-stakes clash will see Kerr lock horns with two of her Glory colleagues in Vanessa DiBernardo and Alyssa Mautz.

“It was good to see them last time we played Chicago,” she said,” but we didn’t get the win. So hopefully this time we can have dinner after a Sky Blue win!

“I’m looking forward to seeing them, but also looking to get one over on them.

“Normally I drop a few comments on the field, but I didn’t really have the chance in the last game because it was all a bit hectic. But there’ll definitely be some banter on Saturday because they are both a good laugh.

“It’d massive if we were to get three points with them being above us. It would rocket us up the ladder.”

In addition to a hectic domestic schedule, Kerr is also set to be busy on the international front with the Matildas poised to feature in the US-based Tournament of Nations later his month and then tackle Brazil in two high-profile games here in Australia in September.

But although it will mean plenty of time spent in the air, she cannot wait to pit her wits against some of the best players in the world.

“It’s very exciting,” she said, “and I’m lucky because we play our last NWSL game in Seattle ahead of the Matildas’ first game of the Tournament of Nations [v USA], so I’ll be able to just meet up with the team there.

“That’s one less flight for me.

“All the teams in the tournament, that’s ourselves, the USA, Japan and Brazil, are in the top ten in the world at the moment and the USA are number one. We’ve never beaten them, so it’s kind of a grudge match for us and we’re really looking forward to it.

“I actually live with Kelley O’Hara who is in the US team, but I haven’t stirred it up with her yet. It’ll be all business on the field and we’ll have a few laughs after.

“Then we have the games in Australia and I can’t wait for those. I’m hoping some of my family can get over to those games against Brazil and it’s always lovely to play for Australia on home soil.”

With FFA actively considering launching a bid to host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the forward with more than 50 international caps to her name is hoping that the two games in Penrith and Newcastle can help showcase why this country would be the ideal venue for the tournament.

“I think we have a good chance of hosting the World Cup,” she said.

“Australia have performed well in recent tournaments and it’s a beautiful country that everyone wants to come to, so we have a strong bid anyway.

“But if those games attract loads of people and are filled with lots of excitement and the media really get around it, I think that will really boost the push for 2023.”

But even amidst her action-packed current schedule with Sky Blue FC and the national side, Kerr has certainly not lost her Glory focus.

And she’s eyeing another tilt at the Westfield W-League title with Bobby Despotovski’s side.

“I don’t think many people expected us to have the season that we ended up having last year,” she said.

“It was a huge team effort with everyone putting in that extra 10% and I’m really proud of all the girls because it takes a lot to go to work every day and then come to training.

“I know some of us don’t have to do that, but I really appreciate the girls who do because it’s not easy.

“The work ethic was amazing and it was a shame that we just missed out.

“But this year we’ll be back again and everyone has a buzz about them because we now know that we can compete with the very best in Australia.”