Nearly 9 months ago when the Chicago Red Stars made a huge trade on Draft Day, it set the women’s soccer world aflame.
A three-team deal between Houston, Chicago, and Sky Blue FC involved draft picks and huge talents in Christen Press, Jen Hoy, Carli Lloyd, Janine Beckie, Nikki Stanton, and Sam Kerr.
Kerr entered her 2018 campaign as the reigning NWSL MVP and Golden Boot winner. Never a player concerned with personal accolades, the star striker has said various times that winning the NWSL Championship is a personal goal of hers.
For The Fam
Of the two newly acquired players from New Jersey, it would be the Stanton whose star was brightest. She became a crucial part of Chicago’s midfield during their first half of the season with several players out injured and Kerr on international duty in the Asian Cup and World Cup Qualifying.
Kerr made her way back to the states immediately following the conclusion of Australia’s WCQs in an effort to show support to the Red Stars during the April 21st match against her former club Sky Blue FC. A game she didn’t play in, but flew nearly 14 hours to be at.
Was told she came straight from the airport to be here. pic.twitter.com/XzlU4PRDm4— John D. Halloran (@JohnDHalloran) April 21, 2018
Like most players working themselves back into a team, it took some time for chemistry to develop. With a record-setting 17 NWSL goals in 2017, Kerr entered the 2018 campaign with eyes fixated on the next goal she would tally. Kerr opened her account with Chicago on May 6th against Orlando.
As the season progressed, she began to develop a connection with Chicago forward Yuki Nagasato. “We just kind of hit it off on the field and it’s just gone from there you know,” Kerr said. “She’s a joy to be around at training. She wants what’s best for the team and she’s just a true professional. I love playing with her.”
“We just kinda clicked. We get along well off the field which helps always. So, it’s been a blessing in disguise coming here and landing myself with such a great player like Yuki.”
Queen Of The Gold Coast
At the end of the regular season, Chicago found themselves in the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. Kerr was also awarded the league Golden Boot once again for 2018, scoring 16 goals after missing the first five games of the season.
“It’s obviously a massive honor to win it two times. Kind of a relief for myself that I can come to a different team and win it again and just kind of prove to myself that I can really continuously score goals [. . .] I just feel really lucky to be a part of Chicago.”
“I feel like it was a much easier 16 than it was the year before and I feel like if I hadn’t of missed those five games that I definitely would have broken my own record. It’s been a really really enjoyable season, I’m just happy that I could, you know, repay Chicago for bringing me here.”
Come Tuesday, Kerr will get to take to the pitch again and battle with her teammates for a chance to compete in the NWSL Championship Final.
Despite the Chicago’s history of bowing out in the semifinals, there’s an entirely different aura surrounding the team this year. Kerr and others aren’t concerned with past results.
“It doesn’t really play any emotion into this week. The girls have said around the team that they feel the most confident that they ever have in this team so that give us confidence. So, I dont think thats something that the girls are thinking about.”