Women's Watch: Red Stars' Kerr has one goal: Win.

  • Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr scores the game's only goal against the Portland Thorns FC during the first half of an National Women's Soccer League semifinal last week in Bridgeview. Kerr was named league MVP Friday.

    Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr scores the game's only goal against the Portland Thorns FC during the first half of an National Women's Soccer League semifinal last week in Bridgeview. Kerr was named league MVP Friday. Associated Press

 
 
Updated 10/25/2019 6:00 PM

The spotlight at the Women's World Cup this summer was aimed squarely on the U.S. Women's National team, and rightfully so.

The Americans were dominant en route to their second straight Cup championship and fourth overall.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Many of the best female soccer players in the world reside on that team: Megan Rapinoe, Carli Lloyd, Julie Ertz, Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Christen Press.

Did the USWNT have the best player in the world?

Maybe not.

But the Chicago Red Stars might.

And the Red Stars are hoping league MVP Sam Kerr, arguably the best female soccer player in the world right now, and quite likely one of the best scorers of all time, can lead them to an elusive first championship for the franchise.

Kerr, a native of Australia and the all-time leading scorer in the National Women's Soccer League, as well as the all-time leading scorer in Australia's W-League, scored the Red Stars' only goal in a semifinal win last week and is hoping to find the goal a few more times on Sunday as the Red Stars take on the North Carolina Courage in the NWSL championship.

The game will be televised from Cary, N.C., at 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.

The Red Stars are trying to win their first championship after losing in the semifinals the last four years. The Courage, which has won three straight regular-season titles, is looking for its second straight league championship.

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"I want to win the NWSL. I've never done it, and I love Chicago," Kerr, who scored a league-record 18 goals in 21 games this season, told The Associated Press over the summer. "The NWSL's given me so much. I think it's made me the player who I am."

Interestingly, Kerr, who won the 2019 NWSL Golden Boot as the league's leading scorer for the third straight season, the first player in league history to finish as the leading scorer in three seasons, hasn't always been an elite soccer star.

She grew up playing Australian rules football until she was 12. Her father and one of her brothers played professionally.

Kerr had to stop playing Aussie football when she was in middle school because there was nowhere else for girls that age to play. At the time, she was heartbroken. But three short years later, she found herself being the hottest name in women's soccer in her home country, eventually becoming captain of the Matildas, the Australian women's national team.

Now, at age 26, Kerr is the first female soccer player in Australia to earn more than $1 million a year. She also is the face of Nike in Australia, having signed a lucrative deal with the shoe king.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Kerr is a hot commodity.

Corporations like Nike are chasing after her with endorsement opportunities. Leagues in Europe are chasing her to defect from the NWSL and the W-League.

But Kerr has tunnel vision right now.

"For me, at the moment, my focus is football. I want to win trophies. I'm sick of coming second in everything," Kerr told SoccerBible.com. "For me, it's winning the NWSL, winning the World Cup, winning the Olympics. It isn't an easy thing, but you've got to dream big. For me, people say the Matildas can never win it, the Chicago Red Stars can never win it, that's just fuel to the fire for me.

"I can't wait to lift more trophies and just feel complete. I guess as a footballer you've never really feel like you've done enough, but I think lifting trophies is what makes you feel the most complete."

Twitter: @babcockmcgraw

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