Australian international and Sky Blue FC forward Samantha Kerr remembers having to Google ‘Who is Abby Wambach?’ before her first training camp with the Western New York (WNY) Flash in 2013.
After leaving Australian club Sydney FC that year and hopping on a plane– something she admits is her biggest fear to this day– the then 19-year-old joined the WNY Flash for the inaugural season of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
“I didn’t even know who Abby Wambach was,” Kerr told Excelle Sports. Wambach, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, was the face of U.S. Soccer as well as the WNY Flash team in her hometown of Rochester, New York.
Watching her now, it’s hard to imagine the 23-year-old Kerr, who picked up the game as a 12-year-old, has only been playing soccer for 11 years. The forward is already the NWSL’s all-time leading scorer with 36 goals. After two seasons with the Flash, Kerr has thrived even further after being traded to Sky Blue FC in 2015.
This season Kerr has scored seven goals in the last five games. She also assisted on a Raquel Rodriguez shot 24 seconds into a June game against Portland which became the fastest goal in league history.
And then there was the bicycle kick goal against the Orlando Pride last month that made a bunch of NWSL highlight videos.
[More from Excelle Sports: Sam Kerr becomes all-time leading scorer in NWSL with hat trick]
“I don’t handle this well,” Kerr chuckles, when asked how she feels about all her success in the league this season. Kerr has picked up consecutive NWSL Player of the Month honors this year for her league second highest of 11 goals. “I don’t take myself too seriously. I just want to be a good teammate, someone I feel like others can trust.”
It’s hard not to trust Kerr when she seems to always find a way to chip in a goal, or three, or like in the Sky Blue’s 2-2 Week 13 draw with Chicago, a 90th minute equalizer.
— NWSL (@NWSL) July 16, 2017
While her accolades can attest to her success in the NWSL, her international duties are soon to pick up when Australia heads to Seattle for the U.S. Soccer Tournament of Nations.
The tournament includes the United States, Australia, Brazil and Japan and runs from July 27 through August 3rd. The Matildas will first play the USWNT on Thursday for the first time since the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup when the USWNT defeated the Aussies 3-1 in Group D play.
“I’m excited, really just always excited to play the U.S.,” Kerr said. “We had a bit of a break for them in the past couple years, so i’m pumped to play them.”
Kerr has grown familiar with numerous national players from the U.S., Japan and Brazil thanks to her frequent matchups in the NWSL. But when looking ahead to the USWNT game, Kerr said there are a few forwards that she is especially looking forward to facing.
“Everyone on the field is good,” Kerr said. “Right now, Pinoe (Megan Rapinoe) and Press (Christen) are doing really well. But, you never know who’s going to take the starting line-up for them.”
Press and Rapinoe were both named to Jill Ellis’s final USWNT roster for the tournament, so although on different sides of the pitch, Kerr will get to battle it out to see who can end up on top of the stat sheet.
[More from Excelle Sports: U.S. women’s soccer coach Jill Ellis names Tournament of Nations roster]
“With the national team I would like to score more goals,” Kerr, who made her first appearance with the NT when she was 15-years-old said. Kerr has eight international goals to date with the senior squad.
“In the next two years – that includes the Women’s World Cup – I would love to see myself with the team winning that,” Kerr said. “I just want to progress as a player and not stand still. I want to be a better me, winning championships and winning the World Cup.”
Not to mention continue giving aspiring young soccer players plenty of reasons to start Google searching her.