Australia star striker Sam Kerr joins Chelsea
Star striker Sam Kerr has signed for English Women's Super League side Chelsea despite interest from four-time defending Champions League winners Lyon.
The Australian is the record goalscorer in the National Women's Soccer League in the United States with 69 goals.
She was also named the league's MVP for the second time last month after her 18 goals, a new tournament record, secured her a third consecutive Golden Boot.
"The WSL is the best league in Europe. I want team success and I don’t want it to come easy. I feel Chelsea have been building something special over the years and I want to be a part of that – I want to lift some trophies." - Sam Kerr speaking to ChelseaFC.com
The Aussie goal machine
Hailing from East Fremantle on the outskirts of Perth, Western Australia, Kerr's goalscoring exploits are well known to fans in the United States and her homeland.
The 26-year-old is the most prolific striker in the history of Australia's W-League with 70 goals.
She made her debut for Perth Glory in the inaugural W-League season of 2008-09 just weeks after turning 15.
In February 2009, she won her first cap for the national side and quickly established herself in the squad, helping The Matildas to a first Asian Cup title in 2010.
Kerr joined Sydney FC in 2012 and her exploits at home and abroad saw her snapped up by Western New York Flash for the first NWSL season in 2013-14, helping them to the final where they went down to the Portland Thorns.
With the W-League running from October to February, and the NWSL from March to October, Kerr has been able to play in both over the past six years.
She returned to Perth Glory in 2014 and led the side to two consecutive FFA Cup Finals, losing in both.
In the NWSL, Kerr was traded to Sky Blue FC in 2015 and while she performed with great credit, claiming her first Golden Boot and league MVP award in 2017, the side failed to reach the post-season playoffs.
She joined perennial challengers Chicago Red Stars ahead of the 2018 season, retaining her Golden Boot as the side went out in the semi-finals.
And while this season has been exceptional on a personal level, Kerr has been left bitterly disappointed on the team front. Twice.
Perth finished top of the A-League regular season this year, but went down in the Grand Final on penalties to her former side Sydney FC.
Kerr clinched a second NWSL MVP award and her third straight Golden Boot this campaign in the United States, but experienced further disappointment as Chicago reached their first NWSL final but fell 4-0 to North Carolina Courage last month.
Goals, goals, goals
Kerr struggled to find the net regularly in an Australia shirt for the first few years of her international career.
But at Rio 2016, where the Matildas made their Olympic return after a gap of 12 years, she scored the opening goal in a 2-2 draw with eventual gold medallists Germany.
In July 2017, she scored four goals in the Tournament of Nations in the United States - a hat-trick against Japan and one against Brazil - as Australia beat the hosts to the title.
Kerr was named AFC Player of the Year in 2017 and has barely stopped scoring since with Australia head coach Ante Milicic handing her the captain's armband in February of this year.
She scored five times at this year's Women's World Cup in France, her first tournament as skipper, including all four in the 4-1 group win over Jamaica.
But Australia went out on penalties to Norway in the last 16 with Kerr again failing to achieve team success despite succeeding personally.
Now she hopes to put that right at Chelsea who currently lead the WSL after five games with reigning champions Arsenal and last year's Women's FA Cup winners Manchester City just a point behind.
Chelsea are not in this year's Women's Champions League, but Kerr hopes to fire them to a place in next season's competition and secure the silverware which has previously eluded her.
On Chelsea FC women's Instagram, she said, "I'm really excited to join the team and do what I can to help the team win.
"I've come to score goals and hopefully I can keep my goalscoring record up and help the team lift those trophies."
Speaking to ChelseaFC.com, Chelsea manager Emma Hayes said, "Sam has proved time and time again in the NWSL that she is a prolific goalscorer. She’s won the golden boot many times and she’s a player that can make things happen, but she’s also a fantastic team player.
"The fact she chose Chelsea when she could have gone to any club in the world is a testament to the players and the staff here because she saw this is the best place for her to grow and take the next step in her career. That’s a wonderful compliment to us all."