A familiar sight in 2017: Sam Kerr celebrating a goal. (Jeffrey Auger Photo)
By Michael Lewis
Many soccer coaches, players, fans, media and observers feel that Sam Kerr is the best woman’s player in the world.
There may be some dissenters, but one thing is certain:
The Sky Blue FC striker and Australian international was the best player — male or female — in the New York metropolitan area.
That is why the 24-year-old Kerr was not only named the FrontRowSoccer.com pro player of the year but the website’s personality of the year.
And why not?
She had a scintillating year for club and country, not only scoring goals or tallying them in bunches, but finding the net when the game was on the line.
For her National Women’s Soccer League side, Kerr smashed team and league records in an amazing season.
Kerr won Most Valuable Player honors, became the league’s career goal leader (43) and the Golden Boot winner broke the season record by scoring 17 goals.
The Perth, Australia native, who also was named to the NWSL Best XI, also became the first player in league history to record two hat-tricks in a season and four goals in a match.
In a 3-2 win over FC Kansas City July 8, Kerr transformed defeat into victory, connecting three times in the final 12 minutes — in the 78th, 81st and 90 minutes.
In fact, Kerr did herself one better in a 5-4 triumph over Seattle Reign FC Aug. 19, striking four times in the second half, including the game-winner in the 94th minute.
For the Matildas, the 24-year-old was named the Asia Football Confederation women’s player of the year at the AFC Annual Awards in Bangkok, Thailand.
Kerr has tallied 11 times in her last six matches for the national side, becoming the first Australian player to score in six consecutive games. She also was recognized by her peers as the 2017 Professional Footballers Australia female footballer of the year at a ceremony September.
While on loan from Sky Blue FC with Perth Glory in the Australia W-League, Kerr was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal following the 2016-17 campaign in her native country. That honor is presented to the W-League Most Valuable Player, pacing the Perth offense with 10 goals, the second-best mark in the league.
She also was named the ABC Sports Personality of the year by Australian sports fans at AIS Sport Performance Awards.
Her performance helped the Matildas reach No. 4 in the FIFA women’s rankings.
Kerr beat out several other local personalities for the top award, including New York City FC striker David Villa, who led the Major League Soccer side to a second-place overall finish in the league, and former Cosmos head coach Giovanni Savarese, who directed the North American Soccer League club to the league finals while overcoming a multiple of obstacles.