Kerr started her career at age 15 with Perth Glory where she played from 2008-2012, before transferring to Sydney FC. In 2013, she joined the Western New York Flash for the inaugural season of the NWSL and helped lead the team to win the NWSL Shield. She later played for Sky Blue FC and the Chicago Red Stars in the same league. Kerr earned her first senior international cap in 2009 at the age of 15 and has represented Australia at the 2010, 2014, and 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup tournaments. On the world stage, she has been in the Australian squad since 2009 and competed at the 2011, 2015, and 2019 FIFA Women's World Cups as well as the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.
Kerr was awarded the 2017 Julie Dolan Medal as the best player in Australia and is a four-time recipient of the PFA's Women's Footballer of the Year Award. She is the only Australian footballer -- male or female -- to be named to the shortlist for the Ballon d'Or, having been nominated in 2018 and 2019. Named International Player of the Year by the Football Media Association (FMA) in 2013 and 2014, Kerr was named the 2018 Young Australian of the Year in 2018. The same year, she received the ESPY Award for Best International Women's Soccer Player. In 2019, she became the first Australian player -- male or female -- to score a hat trick at a World Cup tournament.
Kerr is known for her "speed, skill, tenacity," and backflip goal celebrations.
Kerr played Australian rules football as a young child. Both her father and older brother, Daniel Kerr, were professional Australian rules footballers. She played the sport until switching to soccer at the age of 12 due in large part to gender restrictions.
I started at 12. Before that it was all AFL. I hated soccer when I was kid. I never had a soccer ball around the house.
Despite facing some struggles transitioning from Australian rules football to soccer, at age 13, she was spotted by Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski who described her athleticism and raw talent as "exceptional". At age 15, she made her W-League and international debuts.
Western Knights, 2006-2008
Kerr first started playing soccer as a junior at Western Knights in Mosman Park. After three years at the Western Knights, she trialled for the Western Australian State Team before moving to Perth Glory.
Kerr returned to the Flash for the 2014 season. Head coach Aaran Lines said of Kerr, "With her attributes - her speed, athleticism and instincts - if she continues to develop at the rate she is, Sam can become one of the best strikers in the world." Kerr started in all 20 matches and was the team's leading scorer with 9 goals. She was named NWSL Player of the Week for week 9 after recording a brace and assist against Portland. Following the 2014 season, Kerr was traded to Sky Blue FC in exchange for Elizabeth Eddy and a first-round pick--fourth overall--in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. The Flash used that pick to draft Sam Mewis.
Return to Perth Glory, 2014-2015
In August 2014, Kerr returned to Perth Glory on a one-year deal as one of six national members to sign for Perth. She would open her account in Perth's second match against Adelaide United to give Perth the lead in the second half which they would win. The following match she scored a double in her teams 10-1 rout of Western Sydney Wanderers. After missing out in the next four games, Kerr would go and score eight goals in the final four games of the regular season which included a hat-trick against her former team in Sydney FC.
She continued her regular season form in the following season when she scored the winning goal in a 2-1 victory over Melbourne Victory in the opening round of the competition. That would be the only goal that she would score in the season with her leg giving way in a non-contact ankle injury which forced her out for the rest of the 2015-16 season. This wouldn't stop Perth from giving her a one-year contract extension before the start of that season. In 2016-17 she scored ten goals, led the team to the Westfield W-League Grand Final, and earned the Julie Dolan Medal and the Penny Tanner Media MVP Award. In 2018-19 she became the first marquee player of the W-League when she was reportedly offered 400 thousand dollars contract to stay in Perth instead of going overseas where she was offered 100 thousand less. The marquee signing delivered in the 2018-19 season when she finished top of the goal scoring charts with 17 goals at above a goal a game. This included a hat-trick in the semi-final against Melbourne Victory which book Perth's spot into the grand final.
During the 2016 season, Kerr made nine appearances for Sky Blue after being away with the national team in preparation for the 2016 Rio Olympics. She scored five goals during the regular season. Kerr was named NWSL Player of the week for Week 18 after scoring two goals: an 80th-minute equaliser against the Orlando Pride and a game-winning goal against the Pride a few days later.
In the 2017 season, Kerr set a new NWSL record when she scored 4 goals in a single game after being down 3-0 to Seattle Reign at halftime. Sky Blue eventually won the match 5-4. At the age of 23, Kerr sat atop the all-time NWSL goalscoring table. Kerr won the NWSL Golden Boot and MVP award after finishing the 2017 season with a record-breaking 17 goals.
At the end of the 2019 season, Kerr and the Chicago Red Stars made their first appearance in the NWSL Championship against the North Carolina Courage. Several days prior to the championship game, Kerr was named the 2019 NWSL MVP, the first, and currently only, NWSL player to ever receive the award twice. Kerr also received, for the third year in a row, the NWSL Golden Boot, leading the league with 18 goals and five assists, despite missing some games over the summer to play with Australia in the World Cup. Kerr was also named Player of the Year by the National Women's Soccer League Players Association, who presented their own awards for the first time.
At the end of the 2019 season Kerr announced that she was considering moving to a European team and had multiple offers.
On 13 November 2019, it was announced Kerr had signed a -year deal with English FA WSL team Chelsea. She will officially join the team when the winter transfer window opens on 27 December 2019.
In 2011 at age 17, Kerr was named to Australia's 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup squad by head coach Tom Sermanni as one of seven players who were under twenty years of age. She made her World Cup debut coming on as a substitute in the 79th minute of Australia's first group stage match against Brazil. She was a starter for the team's second group stage match against Equatorial Guinea helping Australia win 3-2 and the team's final group stage match and 2-1 win against Norway. Australia finished second place in their group and advanced to the knockout stage where they were defeated 3-1 by Sweden.
After injuring her knee in December 2014 and undergoing surgery, Kerr worked hard with fitness coach Aaron Holt to recover ahead of the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup in Canada. During the Matilda's first group stage match against the United State, Kerr was the team's starting striker. The United States won 3-1. During the team's second group stage match, she helped Australia defeat Nigeria 2-0. During the match, Kerr was elbowed in the face by Ugo Njoku, which ultimately resulted in a three-game suspension for Njoku. Kerr recovered and started during Australia's final group stage match against Sweden, a 1-1 draw. Australia's finished second in their group and advanced to the round of 16 where they defeated Brazil 1-0. Though Australia reached the quarterfinals for the first time ever, they were defeated by 2011 champions Japan 1-0.
In July 2017, Kerr was the top goalscorer at the inaugural Tournament of Nations in the United States. She scored a hat-trick in Australia's 4-2 victory over Japan, and also scored a goal against Brazil, leading Australia to win the tournament. Prior to this tournament, Kerr had scored 8 goals in her first 49 games for the national team. Her hat-trick against Japan was the beginning of a run of 11 goals in 6 games. Kerr was named 2017 AFC Women's Footballer of the Year.
2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, France
In February 2019, Kerr was named captain of the national team by newly appointed head coach Ante Milicic. Two months later, she was one of five nominees for the BBC Women's Footballer of the Year award. During the team's first group stage match at the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France, she opened up an early lead against Italy after scoring a goal off a penalty kick rebound, though Australia ultimately lost 1-2 in stoppage time. Kerr's goal was her first at a World Cup tournament and she celebrated by punching the corner flag to honor Tim Cahill, the all-time leading goalscorer for the men's national team. During the team's second group stage match against Brazil, though Kerr was in an offside position when Monica Hickmann Alves headed the ball into her own goal, video assistant referees (VAR) deemed that Kerr wasn't interfering and the goal was counted for Australia. Australia won 3-2. Kerr scored four goals in the team's 4-1 win against Jamaica and was named Player of the Match. She is the first Australian footballer -- male or female -- to score a hat-trick at a World Cup tournament and the tenth footballer to score four goals. Australia finished second in their group and advanced to the knockout stage where they were defeated by Norway in a penalty shoot-out. Kerr's five goals at the tournament ranked fourth highest behind Ellen White of England and Americans Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe who all scored six.