Even if you’re not the biggest
soccer football fan (tsk, tsk) — there’s no way you haven’t heard of Samantha Kerr. The young Matildas’ player is a rising star in the Australian women’s league and is kicking goals left, right and centre (literally).
As the ambassador for Nike’s new Mercurial 360, just last week she unveiled the brand’s most innovative football boot yet. Promising unbeatable performance, the Mercurial 360 is constructed using Flyknit technology and comes equipped with a Dynamic Fit Collar and a bright orange colourway (you know, just so people know you’re coming).
In line with the recent launch, we chat to Sam about life both on and off the field — and we can’t help but predict what’s next for the inspiring athlete.
How old were you when you first started playing football? Where did this passion stem from?
I was 12 and I just always played with boys. I’ve always been super competitive and have always wanted to prove them wrong so I think that’s where it really started. I grew up playing AFL in Perth. It got a bit too much trying to compete so I moved to football and fell in love with it straightaway.
What does your training regimen currently look like?
My training regimen really depends on whether it’s a game week or not. If it’s a game week we’ll have four field sessions in a week and a gym session. My own gym sessions focus mostly on leg workouts, relying on resistant exercises using my body weight and bridges! On the field, we’ll have different tactical drills, whether it’s a defensive play or counterattack. It’s pretty stock standard. I’m lucky that we have an awesome national team conditioning coach that makes us work hard.
How does nutrition reflect your training? Do you follow any specific diet?
It’s a huge part of my training and preparation before a game. Part of staying fit is what you eat. I’m not too picky though. The night before the game I’m really carb loading. Sometimes you treat yourself but nine times out of ten I’ll go the healthy route.
What has been the proudest moment of your career to date?
Seven years ago lifting up the Asian Cup trophy. That was my first ever-national team tournament. I didn’t realise the magnitude of that win at the time but now it’s pretty amazing to look back on.
Are there any women in sports you aspire to?
I look up to a lot of my teammates in the national team. Steph Catley, Caitlin Foord and other girls, people I’ve grown up with. They’re amazing athletes and amazing people. I’m so lucky I get to train and play with them. Even though they play at the same level as me, I definitely still look up to them. Outside of football, it would have to be Serena Williams. She’s always on her A-game. She’s a supreme athlete and just a hungry person.
If you could play anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I would probably say Real Madrid because I love Ronaldo, and they don’t have an official women’s team yet! I would also love to play at PSG. It would be a dream of me to play for them. I had an opportunity to play for them but the timing wasn’t right.
If you weren’t a striker, what other position would you play on the field and why?
It would have to be goalkeeper [laughs]. Whenever there isn’t a third choice in training, I go in goals. I love the fact that a goalkeeper can be the hero. The striker is either the hero or the worst player on the field, just like a goalkeeper. Keepers can win or lose a game.
What was the first pair of boots you ever put on and what excites you most about the new Nike Mercurial 360?
My first pair of boots was the Nike Total 90, I loved them. With the new Mercurial 360, I love the bottom of the boot and I love the lightness. I’m really happy Nike has continued with the dynamic fit collar, that’s one of my favourite things. When it comes to boots, if they look good, I feel good and I play good. That’s my motto.
You rubbed shoulders with some pretty big names at the London launch. What was it like standing alongside the likes of Neymar and Alexis Sanchez?
It was pretty surreal. I didn’t get very close to Neymar but Alexis was super nice and down to earth. You sometimes forget that off the pitch, they’re just regular guys. I loved getting that selfie with the OG Ronaldo (Brazilian Ronaldo). I grew up watching him. He is the original and one of the best players ever. Him and Ronaldinho are what drew me to Brazilian football.
If you weren’t playing professional football, where do you see yourself?
I didn’t really have a plan B. I always wanted to be a professional athlete, whether it was football or another sport. I always knew I’d end up being a professional athlete. It’s all I wanted in my life. If I had to say something, I’d maybe like to be a secret agent or something really cool [laughs].