Matildas are our life
SAM Kerr sent social media into overdrive when she gave her jersey to a fan who had to turn an old Socceroos strip into a Matildas one at the recent Brazil games.
For her, it wasn even a question, or a hassle.
It says much about her and is a snapshot of why the Matildas have endeared themselves to the Australian public recently without losing that humility that made them so likeable in the first place.
But, amid the joy, Kerr makes a wider point as well, as she does in all her answers reflecting on the current positive position the Matildas find themselves in.
## ## “Someone tweeted me the photo after the game and I never thought anything of it, I just thought have to get this guy my jersey she said.
“Lucas Neill is a legend of the Socceroos . but (this fan replaced his name with mine) because there was no merchandise for the Matildas there.
“That kind of funny, but then also a wake up call for the FFA that people do want to wear our jerseys and if it there, people will want to buy it.”
With the W League around the corner, and Matildas games against China later in November, it a seminal moment for the game in the country.
Suddenly, the women side of the Australian football, with flagbearers like Kerr, Lisa de Vanna, Kyah Simon, Emily van Egmond and co, are household names attracting as much excitement as their Socceroo counterparts.
The Matildas are now as important a route for football to the hearts and minds of Australians as any facet of the code, and it not something lost on Kerr, whose stunning form on a global stage has put her front and centre.
In a wide ranging chat, the Matildas sensation talks about the side growing influence, the upcoming W League season and how Alen Stajcic side has won the Australian public.
“I think it a men game thing: they get paid so much more for their clubs so to come to their country to play, it doesn seem like it has the same feel not that it about money as it does for us.
“For us, the national team is the be all and end all. It the highest. I just feel people feel the Socceroos are there because they can be.
“When we play for the Matildas, it our life, our passion, our everything.
“It not just about football, it about the Matildas.
“Maybe the Socceroos are in a bit of a changing period, but they don have those people like the Vidukas, who played for this country. I feel like Timmy (Cahill) definitely got that, but maybe some of the young ones, I like, do you want to be here?
“That how I feel watching them.
“We tried to play football but we had that toughness and roughness. Now, trying to play football, maybe we lost our Aussie way. We never going to be a Germany, an Argentina, so maybe losing that aspect of our game is a massive loss for us. I don know if people see that.
“I not saying go in and hurt people but in the first five minutes of a game, let them know you here in Australia.
“I felt like it was Syria showing us come to play tonight
“I also think it falls back on to the Australian public too I was looking at the Syrian crowd . if you didn have colours and you wanted to be part of a cheer squad, you chose the Syrians.
“We don give the boys anything to get up for. The crowds were very quiet; the supporters end was just dead. You go to an AFL game, it the same . it just the Australian way. You look at the Syrian crowd and go love that (atmosphere) to be the Socceroos
Sam Kerr of the Matildas in action agsinst Brazil in Newcastle last month. DARREN PATEMAN
On why fans feel such a connection with the Matildas:
“It comes from the Matildas not being a mainstream team and now that we are, we feel we have a closer connection,” Kerr said.
“People have commented that the boys team feels untouchable, whereas they can have a conversation with us girls; they know us by name, because the fan base is smaller, sometimes we recognise fans. I think the girls enjoy that part of the game.
“You can make everyone happy, but a lot of people commented after the open session in Newcastle and Penrith we were out there for 45 minutes connecting with the fans.