Matildas captain Sam Kerr has been recognised for her service to football, receiving a Medal of the Order of Australia.
Kerr said the recognition “sits right up there” with her biggest achievements, and it was an amazing honour to be recognised outside of the sporting world.
“Whenever you get recognised doing what you love and playing for your country, it’s an amazing honour but to do it outside of the sporting world is special,” she said.
Last week, Kerr overtook Tim Cahill to become Australia’s all-time leading goal scorer in international football, when she scored 5 goals during the Matildas’ 18-0 win over Indonesia.
“I want to win more trophies with the Matildas and with my club, but I want to continue to grow the game and change the game, and I want to reach different people in different walks of life. I think I have the opportunity to do that in Australia,” she said.
Speaking about her OAM, Kerr said she hopes it can be part of a push to see more women officially recognised for their work in and out of sport.
“It’s really important that females get recognition for whatever they’re doing. I think now the times have changed and we’re getting more and more recognition, but we’ve got to keep breaking down barriers,” she said.
“That’s what awards like this are for, to give people belief and give females that confidence to do what they love and do what they’re passionate about and do it with conviction.
“I feel like for so long, people haven’t been recognised female sports, so it’s nice to break down those barriers and hopefully there are many more females to be recognized for the work they’re doing.”
Kerr said she’d also like to use her platform, both in Australia and internationally, to improve access and pathways to sport for children of all backgrounds.
“There’s so many communities that don’t have the resources to have young girls and boys grow up and play sport, so I would love to get into that,” she said.
“Even in Asia, being here in India, it’s been amazing to see the growth and how interested people are in women’s sport.
“I would love to tap into my Indian heritage and help Asian girls grow up, but also Australia, I’d love to help there be more pathways for young girls and boys in football.”