Sam Kerr’s tone barely shifted. She had not, she said, had time to think about it yet. She had put it to the back of her mind. She had other things on which to focus her attention.
Her response muted to the point of deadpan, Kerr gave the distinct impression that the offer, to some the offer of a lifetime, was just another bullet point on a busy schedule, another item on her to-do list: Barcelona on the road. Liverpool in the league. Westminster Abbey, to act as Australia’s flag-bearer at the coronation of King Charles III. Everton away.
Of course, she said, she was conscious that being handpicked by Australia’s prime minister to carry her country’s flag at the coronation was an “amazing, amazing honor.” It would, she acknowledged, probably be the sort of thing she would “tell my kids about in 10 or 15 years.”
It was just that the idea of it did not faze her. Indeed, such was her insouciance that she admitted that her first instinct when offered the role was to turn it down. She thought she was too busy to attend a coronation. She assumed she would have a training session that day. She did not want to miss training simply to carry a flag.
Those that know her, though, would offer a supplementary explanation. Kerr has long been regarded as possibly the finest player in women’s soccer. She was, for a time, the highest-paid female player on the planet.
Her teammates, colleagues and friends are unanimous in asserting that nothing that status has brought — the profile, the money, the attendant pressure — has left the slightest mark on her. “She comes across as real chill,” her Australia teammate Mary Fowler said. “For any of the pressure that I may feel, it’s multiplied for her. So I’m just like: Props to her for being able to deal with that and come across as if it doesn’t affect her.”
That, she said, is just who Kerr is. It is also exactly who Australia needs her to be this month as she prepares to carry her country on her shoulders once again at the Women’s World Cup.
At 29, Kerr has been a superstar for some time. Four years ago, when Chelsea was preparing its bid to sign her, the club’s management had to present a case for the investment. Both the fee to acquire her services and her salary were, at the time, substantial commitments by the standards of women’s soccer.