Red Stars’ Sam Kerr looking for connection with Chicago
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She’s the reigning MVP and league-leading scorer, but that’s not what the Red Stars’ Sam Kerr wants to be known for in Chicago.
“I’m a team player, and I want team success way more than personal success,’’ Kerr said. ‘‘I think people see that when I play, and I like to have a lot of fun on the field and play with a smile on my face. Hopefully the fans will connect with that, hopefully I can bring something new to Chicago and hopefully we can win the championship this year.”
The Red Stars acquired Kerr, 24, from Sky Blue FC in January. To get Kerr in a complicated three-team draft-day deal, the Red Stars sent the rights to U.S. national-team player and World Cup champion Christen Press to the Houston Dash.
“I guess I needed a change,’’ Kerr said. ‘‘There comes a time in your life where you know you need change. I was a little comfortable — too comfortable — at Sky Blue. There were things that went on that I just knew it was time for me to leave. I’m really glad I made the decision to leave.”
Press, who never joined Houston and is playing in Sweden, was productive and a fan favorite. Kerr doesn’t see herself as Press’ replacement and wants to leave her own mark with the Red Stars, who lost 2-0 Wednesday to the Orlando Pride.
“I have never thought once that I’m replacing Press because I know she’s done amazing things here for the club and women’s soccer in Chicago,” said Kerr, who made her Red Stars debut Saturday after missing the first five games of the season because of international duty with Australia. “I think she left her own kind of legacy, and hopefully I can pave my own way rather than replace her or follow in her footsteps and leave the same kind of legacy she had. I know the fans love her very much and were sad to see her go.”
Kerr, however, already has a formidable reputation.
In 2017, Kerr had the National Women’s Soccer League’s first four-goal game and set a record by scoring 17 times on her way to the MVP award. She’s the league’s all-time leading scorer with 43 goals and is one of five nominees for the BBC Women’s Footballer of the Year.
“I wasn’t sure where I was going to end up, and I’m glad it was Chicago,” Kerr said. “They obviously have a great team, making the [playoffs] the last three years. They’ve always been a tough team to play against, so I’m happy to be on the same side.”