“Sam Kerr is made for Chelsea.”
That was what her manager Emma Hayes said after Kerr scored two stunning volleys in Chelsea’s 4-2 win over Manchester United to help seal the Women’s Super League title on a dramatic final day of the season.
The Australian international was promised trophies if she joined Chelsea. This was her sixth major trophy in two years with the club and it is clear the 28-year-old is enjoying it.
After the second goal, she ran over to celebrate with her team-mates and the staff on the touchline. She danced in the tunnel before walking out to a roar from the crowd and collected her winner’s medal. After signing shirts and flags, she faced the media with a beer in hand and Hayes’ young son Harry perched on her lap as she playfully messed around with him.
“I don’t know what words I could use to sum up this person next to me – apart from being the best babysitter in the world,” said Hayes, as she looked at Kerr and her son with a huge smile on her face.
“She’s the best for a reason. She stepped up once again for this football club. I always said ‘come play for this football club, you’ll win trophies here.’
“I can sit here confident knowing we both made the right decision and we are both made for Chelsea. We both love days like today.”
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‘I try things that maybe others wouldn’t’
It is the second season in a row Kerr has won the Golden Boot and her double on the final day took her overall WSL tally to 20 in 2021-22.
“I’m going to score a ‘worldie’ tomorrow”, Kerr said she had told team-mate Erin Cuthbert on Saturday. She did not just score one against Manchester United, but two.
The first was a volley inside the box from a rebound. The second – which Hayes described as “outrageous” – was a 25-yard volley that chipped goalkeeper Mary Earps after Kerr had chested it down on the turn.
“She’s exceptional,” former England midfielder Fara Williams said. “The goals she scored and the importance she has for this Chelsea team has shone through this season.
“She literally dragged her team back into the game against Manchester United. If it wasn’t for her goals and her second-half performance, the result wouldn’t happen at the Kingsmeadow.”
It is not the first time this season Kerr’s goals have had a big impact.
Kerr said the most important one in her eyes was the 92nd-minute winner against Aston Villa in March. She also netted a crucial goal in a narrow 2-1 win over Spurs at home in April and the decisive one at their place the week before.
“The best goals to me are the ones that mean the most. The Aston Villa one to me was the most important. I’m not known for my ‘worldie’ goals but I’m all for getting it done when it matters,” Kerr said.
“The most important thing is making sure the team are top of the table at the end of the season.”
Hayes laughed when Kerr said that and told reporters “this is why I love her”, before adding: “She is decisive in the main moments. She knows she can cope with these situations and deliver when it really, really matters.
“Most importantly, she has joy in what she’s doing. She enjoyed herself in that second half [against Manchester United].”
How does she do it?
Kerr said she visualises the big moments so she always feels “super calm” but her biggest strength is doing the unthinkable.
“If you can’t see yourself in those pressure moments then when you get there you’ll bottle it,” she said.
“You’ve got to take chances in those moments. I try that sort of stuff in training all the time. That’s one of my strengths as a player, I try things that maybe others wouldn’t and it catches people out.”
‘One day they hate you, one day they love you – that’s life’
Kerr’s arrival in England was huge. She had broken records in the United States and Australia, made her international debut at just 15 and had already captained her country at a World Cup.
But she found it hard to hit the ground running, scoring just once in seven appearances and missed several big chances at Wembley when Chelsea beat Manchester City to win the Community Shield.
Fast forward two years, and Kerr has multiple titles in the bag, two successive Golden Boot awards and just days before lifting her latest WSL trophy, was presented with the 2022 Football Writers’ Association Player of the Year award alongside Liverpool’s Mohamed Salah.
“The same thing happened to me at Chicago. I didn’t score for the first six games so just had to find my way,” Kerr said.
“I know myself better than anyone else. Once I feel comfortable in a team … The most important thing is that I get the trust from the team-mates and that in the 90th minute they want to put the ball where I am.
“Once I settled into the team off the pitch, that’s when I started to play well on the pitch. Of course, it’s nice to start scoring but I don’t think about anything anyone said about me because one day they hate you, one day they love you – that’s life.
“I just try and win these things,” she added as she looked down at her medal.
Chelsea take on Manchester City in next week’s FA Cup final at Wembley and there is no doubt Kerr will be eyeing up another trophy.
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