HomeNewsChelsea’s Sam Kerr: ‘I’m a risk taker. I love that feeling of being on the edge’
Chelsea’s Sam Kerr: ‘I’m a risk taker. I love that feeling of being on the edge’
May 13, 2022
Sam Kerr loves the biggest stages. Few players thrive in the most intense spotlights but the Australian seems to feed off the pressure. “I’m a bit of a risk taker,” says Kerr, who showboats on the pitch but is incredibly down-to-earth off it. “I love that feeling of being on the edge and that’s what those big moments are for.”
Last summer Kerr chested down a long ball and slotted past Ellie Roebuck with two minutes remaining to force extra time in Australia’s quarter-final against Team GB at the Tokyo Olympics. Australia won 4-3, Kerr scoring their second and fourth goals. In December the 28-year-old scored twice in Chelsea’s 3-0 demolition of Arsenal at Wembley to lift the Covid-postponed 2021 FA Cup.
“That was one of the best experiences of my life, honestly,” she says. “Just the whole London derby thing was awesome to do at Wembley and having fans and friends and family back in the stadium after Covid times was really special.”
The day after her return from the tournament in India, which she says “elevated her confidence”, the forward came off the bench as a depleted Chelsea beat Manchester United 3-1 in the Continental League Cup semi-finals. Then, after a 0-0 draw with Arsenal that ensured Chelsea would win the league if they did not drop a point, Kerr’s form was unsurpassed. She scored 11 goals across eight of the nine remaining league games, including a 90th-minute winner against Aston Villa and a nerve-easing swift opener against Everton three days later.
Then she put 10-player Chelsea ahead against Tottenham as they came from behind to win 3-1. “We went down to 10 and I kid you not, in that changing room it was just calmness, no one’s stressed,” she says. “I’ve never been a part of the team like that. We didn’t have one player stressing, the coach didn’t stress, we all knew it was going to be fine.”
Four days later, in the reverse fixture, she scored the winner in a 2-1 defeat of Spurs. Finally, she hit two stylish and audacious volleys as Chelsea twice came from behind to take the WSL title on the final day with a 4-2 defeat of Manchester United. There was one thing she wasn’t risking against United, her trademark backflip celebration not an option. “I got too excited, and I can’t do it when I’m too excited; I’ll break my back,” she says with a laugh.
On Sunday, Kerr steps out at Wembley again, as Chelsea take on Manchester City, who beat them in the League Cup final, in this season’s FA Cup final. “I’d play there every week if I could,” she says. “It’s a beautiful stadium. When the fans pack it out it’s an amazing experience. Any time you go to Wembley it’s an important game, so I love playing there. And look, sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t, but the most important thing is that I do everything this week so that I know that I’ve done everything in my power to perform on the day.”
There is an added boost on Sunday for Kerr. “My brother, two friends, my mum and dad and some family that live in Milton Keynes are coming,” she says. “They all weren’t going to come and then they thought: ‘Stuff it, what are you saving your money for?’ You never know when your next time at Wembley will be.”
Kerr brims with confidence. After Chelsea lifted the title, she said that visualising scoring in the big moments was important to keeping her calm when those scenarios play out. Retaining a cool head is important because Kerr is more tightly marked than she was in the NWSL in the US or the W-League in Australia.
“That’s one of the reasons why I came to this league: because I wanted to expand my gameplay,” she says. “I am being closely marked here but if they’re double-marking me or man-marking me then there’s someone else free and that’s the amazing thing about this team – everyone is allowed to be the best version of themselves on the field and if I’m having a bad game normally someone else is having a worldie.
“This league has made me better and it’s made me transform into a different type of player, a smarter player. I love the challenge of it. That’s why I love the big games: you get right on the cusp of doing something amazing and I love that feeling.”