Paradigm-Altering Signing of Sam Kerr Makes Chelsea Challengers to Lyon’s Throne

The Women’s Super League is braced for the arrival of Australia forward Sam Kerr from Chicago Red Stars in time for the second half of the season. 

To put it bluntly, this could be the most significant moment’s in the league’s nine-year history to date.

Kerr is nothing short of world class and her decision to make the move to ​Chelsea and England over her pick of top European clubs, reportedly Lyon for one, is momentous.

“The WSL is the best league in Europe,” the player herself said. “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.”

With Sky Blue and then Chicago, Kerr won the NWSL Golden Boot three seasons in a row from 2017 to 2019. Having made the switch to North America for the inaugural NWSL season in 2013, she leaves as the league’s all-time top scorer. In 2017 and 2019, she was also MVP.

Unsurprisingly, Kerr also holds NWSL records for most goals in a single season (18 – breaking her own record of 17) and most goals in a single game (4).

Kerr made her Australia debut as far back as 2010, but 30 of her 38 international goals have come since July 2017, including five at the 2019 ​World Cup. It all points to a player at the peak of her powers who is among the most lethal goalscorers on the planet.


The expectation is that she will set the WSL alight when the Chelsea transfer is formally completed at the end of December when the winter transfer opens.

Kerr could make her Chelsea debut against Reading at home on 5 January. The team host Bristol City a week later, before a huge trip to Arsenal that will have major title race ramifications.

Chelsea finished 12 points back from Arsenal last season as the Gunners secured a first WSL title since 2012. That was largely because they drew too many games in the opening weeks of the season. But with Chelsea already top so far in 2019/20, the short-term impact of Kerr from January onwards promises to give them the decisive edge.

Even with all the talent at Arsenal – the likes of Vivianne Miedema, Danielle van de Donk, Jordan Nobbs, Beth Mead and more – Chelsea are also going to be firm favourites next season.

Longer term, the ambition at Chelsea is to topple Lyon at the continental level. Should they at least finish in the WSL’s top two this season, they will return to the Champions League in 2020/21.

Chelsea reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in both 2017/18 and 2018/19. Last season in particular it was Lyon that knocked them out, but only narrowly in a 3-2 aggregate scoreline. The addition of Kerr to an already very strong side, promises to make that future battle even closer.

The WSL is getting better and better anyway. But Kerr raises the bar higher still.

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