Superstar Sam Kerr is primed to return to Australia full-time in the build up to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in a lavishly funded deal partially financed by Football Federation Australia.
In recognition of Kerr’s stratospheric stature as a sporting phenomenon who transcends the constrictions of her code, it’s understood FFA are willing to dip into their marquee fund to bring the 24-year-old attacking weapon back from the US.
Perth Glory, whom she has been starring for since 2014 in conjunction with more lucrative National Women’s Soccer League stints at Sky Blue FC and Chicago Red Stars, are the likely beneficiaries for the coming W-League season.
According to sources in Western Australia, Sydney FC and Melbourne Victory were both hoping to tempt Kerr, but look to have lost out to her hometown team with the FFA - eager to utilise Kerr as a year-round marketing asset - prepared to leverage Fox Sports’ marquee war chest, or their own marketing coffers, to clinch the deal.
It’s unknown exactly how much FFA are willing to pay the Matildas’ magician - but it could range from $200,000 to as much as double that figure. Glory would also have to chip in a significant sum.
Whatever the final figure, it will dwarf the $40,000 or so Kerr would have expected from previous W-League stints.
The minimum W-League wage is around $11,000, and the average is less than $20,000.
But the free-scoring Young Australian of the Year is a special case, with a figure in excess of $500,000 a possibility for the coming year as she capitalises on her rise to the top of the women’s game globally.
An FFA spokesman declined to comment on the intricacies of the proposed Kerr coup, but did confirm that bringing her to Australia ahead of the women’s World Cup in France next June was a priority.
Utilising the marquee fund to achieve that goal has the potential to put A-League clubs offside, with the initial assumption being it would be spent on the likes of Keisuke Honda ($1.6 million went towards clinching his signature for Melbourne Victory) since the A-League is the game’s chief revenue generator.
It’s anticipated that while Kerr has other offers elsewhere, an announcement of her homecoming is close.
Last month Kerr became the first woman to net more than 50 goals in the NWSL and many were aghast when she missed out on FIFA’s best women’s player of the year award.
That blow was softened when she was anointed best international women’s soccer player at the Excellence in Sport Performance awards in Los Angeles.
Kerr’s personal honour haul for 2018 also includes Asian women’s footballer of the year and ABC sports personality of the year. She was also the NWSL’s most valuable player in 2017.