Sport

Matildas player Sam Kerr on the game she loves and the battle for fair pay. By Richard Cooke.
Credit: GETTY IMAGES

Higher goals: Sam Kerr, 22, soccer player

We’re just asking for fair pay. We’re not asking for the same as the men; that’s never been asked for. We’re just asking for what we think we deserve and to get paid for the hours we’ve worked. We’re standing strong as a team and speaking to what we think is right. And we’ve had a lot of support. We’ve nearly come to a close now but, at the moment in the middle of W-League season, it’s still going on. But it’s not really my main focus.

The W-League is a growing league. It’s not world class by any means at the moment but, hopefully, with more internationals coming out next year, it’s getting there. From round one to now it’s definitely jumped a lot in standard. It’s a good stepping stone for young players in the national team, and players in the younger national teams, and a spot for people to make an entrance.

Perth’s my home city. So it’s nice to represent the city you’re from. I love it, and couldn’t really see myself leaving any time soon at all.

Like any league, crowds vary. It depends whether it’s a derby or just a normal game. In a new season, not many people know about it still. 

Girls are starting to get recognised. For being on or off the field. Especially after the World Cup there was a massive buzz around Australia in women’s football.

The World Cup was a bit of a whirlwind. Obviously we lost the first game and then we qualified for the next stage. So that was exciting. But for me the best memory is just being in Brazil making history with your 20 best friends. It’s just awesome – something I will never forget. 

I play football for the big stage. And to have fun. I think we played good football as a team, and that’s why I went there. To try to do things that I hadn’t done, and challenge myself. A lot of the girls played well, and I think as a team it really paid off.

The Matildas are still a very young team. And we’ve only been together for two years with our head coach. Every game’s a chance to improve.

I want to start being a week-in, week-out good player. I feel like I’m kind of up and down sometimes. So just getting that consistency level up. You know, not having the odd game here and there. I know that happens, but just getting some type of consistency in my game, whether it be just scoring every week, or just helping the team get the win every week.

I have to play the same as if it were a World Cup game or a World Cup final. With age, I am going to grow up and I’m going to realise my routine and what I need to do to perform at my best.

The odd journalist can ruin it for everyone. Someone who wants to write about something irrelevant, or something that’s degrading, but you know, like men’s football, there’s always bad and there’s always good. We don’t read too much into it.

It’s changing and it’s changing for the better. But, you know, there’s always that odd article or odd interview that disappoints. I guess not just with women’s football, but women in sport.

My dad, my brother, my mum – everyone played sport. So I guess I’m very lucky in a sense. They’ve kind of guided me in the way I want to go, but I have my own career and I’ll be my own person.

 

This week’s highlights…

• Horseracing: Kingston Town Classic

Saturday, 4.50pm (AWST), Ascot Racecourse, Perth

• Basketball: WNBL – UC Capitals v Sydney Uni Flames

Saturday, 7pm (AEDT), Tuggeranong Southern Cross Stadium, Canberra

• Soccer: A-League – Western Sydney Wanderers v Brisbane Roar

Saturday, 7.30pm (AEDT), Parramatta Stadium, Sydney

• Soccer: W-League – Adelaide United v Perth Glory

Sunday, 1.30pm (ACDT), Coopers Stadium, Adelaide

• Motorsport: V8 Supercars – Sydney 500

Sunday, 3.45pm (AEDT), Sydney Olympic Park

• Basketball: NBL – Illawarra Hawks v Cairns Taipans

Wednesday, 7.30pm (AEDT), Wollongong Entertainment Centre

This article was first published in the print edition of The Saturday Paper on Dec 5, 2015 as "Higher goals". Subscribe here.

Richard Cooke
is a journalist and writer for television. He is The Saturday Paper's sports editor.