Matildas star Sam Kerr admits her meteoric rise in Australian sport has come at a price.
For the past 12 months, Kerr’s footballing stocks have gone from strength to strength but the Matildas striker is beginning to find the attention “confronting.”
Showered with accolades and enjoying her status as the leading scorer in America’s league the NWSL for the past two seasons, Kerr’s increasing profile puts her in high demand off the field.
The 25-year-old was this year named the Young Australian of the Year and also scooped up an ESPY award as the Best International Women’s Soccer Player.
Going into games against Chile on Saturday in Sydney and on Tuesday in Newcastle, Kerr says her life has changed since starring for Australia in those cities last year.
She enjoys the off-field opportunities her football fame has attracted but the W-League’s first marquee player has narrowed her focus since Perth Glory’s campaign started.
“After the W-League’s launch I cut all commitments because I really want to focus on this year’s W-league. That’s an important time going into the World Cup (next year),” Kerr said on Friday.
“I feel really good, I feel fresh, my body feels rested so I’m really excited for these games.”
Kerr doesn’t like disappointing her growing legion of fans and admits she finds it hard to say no to all the requests she gets.
“You always want that as a kid – known as a sports star – but it can be a little front confronting at some times, ” Kerr said.
“I still haven’t got my head around walking into somewhere and people turning and almost staring at you.
“I can’t imagine being someone totally hugely famous like a (Justin) Bieber or a LeBron (James).
“People come up to you which is really nice and just say ‘Sam!’ It’s like I don’t know who you are … it’s different.
“Not so much in Sydney but from where I’m from in Perth, it’s very full-on.
“I think because of my brother (2005 West Coast Eagles premiership winner Daniel Kerr) and my family being very well known in Perth, it’s much greater.
“My life has changed in that way and also I’m not very good at saying no and there’s lots of things that I’d be doing if I didn’t have an agent that could say no for me.
“I feel like you let people down but that’s something I’ve had to learn to accept now, that I can’t give everyone what they want and that’s OK, but I don’t feel good about that. So that’s been the difficult part for me.”