Sam Kerr is a goal-scoring machine. Not in the cliche “goal-scoring machine” way that it is normally used, no. Sam Kerr is made of wires and programmed by highly sophisticated computers to devote all movements and abilities to the singular task of putting the ball into the net. She is only allowed on the pitch due to a loophole in FIFA’s regulations (of which there are many), and she might soon be a Chelsea player.
Kerr’s goal-making record for club and country is flatly ridiculous; for her career: 89 goals and 23 assists in 130 appearances — she’s scoring at a rate of one goal per 84-minutes. This year she was the National Women’s Soccer League’s (NWSL) leading scorer with 18 goals — none of which were a penalty, and she missed an entire month’s worth of matches at the Women’s World Cup (where she scored five goals in four matches).
Sam Kerr is inevitable.
But thanks to a suppressed market that women’s football and women footballers are constantly fighting against, the transfer market for stars isn’t as cut and dry as it is in the men’s game. It can be difficult to find contract details, agents involved, and players’ rights can be held by clubs, even if they’re no longer with the club — as was the case with ex-Chelsea player Crystal Dunn. The star forward left the Washington Spirit from the NWSL for Chelsea early 2017, signing an 18-month contract. Back home, however, Dunn’s rights were traded from the Spirit to the North Carolina Courage, and in early 2018 she was back in the states in a Courage kit.
As a result of all this weirdness, speculating on player movements is even more of a guessing game, as any combination of things can take a player from one to team another, or even one side of an ocean to another.
But earlier this week something interesting happened. The agency that Sam Kerr is represented by, A&V Sports, retweeted (since un-retweeted) a post from the Herald Sun Sport that claimed Kerr was heading to England, and that her likeliest destination was Chelsea FC.
Odd timing, but Sam Kerr’s agency just retweeted this article saying that she’s likely headed to Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/86n0BtYBoW— John D. Halloran (@JohnDHalloran) October 18, 2019
There are a litany of reasons an agency would retweet something like this — could be auto-generated via a name search, could be ginning up interest in a client, or maybe a Chelsea fan runs their social media account. The post, however, was taken quite seriously by people who cover women’s soccer (The Athletic’s Meg Linehan and The Equalizer’s Claire Watkins - who also covers Kerr’s current team). And Sam Kerr was already fielding similar questions in June, during the World Cup.
Another good bit of news is that earlier this year Sam Kerr was chosen by Nike to be its leading face in Australia — a deal that pays her more than AUS$1-million. Nike, as you will remember, gave Chelsea nearly six-bajillion dollars to become the Blues’ exclusive kit-maker. In the world of women’s club football, it is possible that Nike could help facilitate this deal.
Now, that pesky little bother named Reason will note that the Herald Sun Sport post is merely speculative. Its main goal is to state that Kerr would not be joining Australia’s women’s domestic league, the W-League, after the NWSL season (as many NWSL players do, and as Kerr did last year). The speculation is only that Kerr has been linked to Chelsea in the past, and is ‘likely to test her talents’ by hopping to the blue part of London.
With new women’s leagues gaining traction, and big clubs being pressured to take their women’s teams seriously, this may become a more frequent thing, and is a big part of establishing a market for women footballers. A few years ago Chelsea was the unquestioned dominant force in English women’s football, winning a treble in the 2017/18 season, and double in 2014/15. Since, Arsenal and Manchester City have stepped up their efforts and have formed a big three. Manchester United, Liverpool and Spurs are at least verbally signaling an intent to compete in the FA WSL as well.
Likewise, PSG has made commitments to its women’s team after finally becoming fed up with the dominance of Lyon Women, who have been domestic Division 1 Féminine league winners every season since 2006/07 and 6x Women’s Champions League winners (including four straight since 2015/16). Bayern Munich is also growing, as is Wolfsburg; in Spain, Barcelona is looking to establish itself while Real Madrid, in true Real Madrid fashion, are attempting a Galácticas project.
Due to the dominance of the USWNT and that all 23 squad members play in the NWSL, the American league is considered the best women’s league in the world — and it is certainly the most competitive. But a move like this from Kerr and Chelsea could shift the landscape a bit. The NWSL, Kerr’s home since 2013, would surely miss her. But overall the move would be a great sign of intent from a European giant of women’s football, and a display of a growing market.
More narrowly though, Chelsea would become the clear title favorite if Kerr were to land at Kingsmeadow. The Blues are currently second in the league and tied with Arsenal for most goals, but beat their red London rivals last weekend to leapfrog them in the table. Sam Kerr is just 26-years-old, in her prime, and scoring at unfathomable rates any time she’s on the pitch — and has been doing so for many years. She’s also an underrated passer, and unselfish when there are better opportunities for another to put the ball in the net. Kerr also topped SB Nation’s Kim McCauley’s list of the top-50 players at this summer’s Women’s World Cup. She is as complete a goalscorer as there is in the game, current Ballon d’Or Féminin holder Ada Hegerberg included.
With Fran Kirby, Guro Reiten, Erin Cuthbert and Ji So-Yun Chelsea are already one of the most fun attacks to watch in women’s football. Adding Sam Kerr to that mix would be like having a war boy from Mad Max: Fury Road climb onto the hood and spew gasoline directly into the intake. And I want it.
A week after returning from France after Australia’s exit in the Women’s World Cup, Sam Kerr started against the Orlando Pride — and scored a hat-trick.
SIGN. HER. UP.