For most women's soccer stars, earning the Most Valuable Player award in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) — the highest-caliber women's soccer league on the planet — would be a dream realized.
But for Sam Kerr, it was just another Friday.
The Chicago Red Stars striker collected her second career MVP honor to kick off the NWSL's championship weekend, and she apparenly couldn't care less. In fact, the prolific Aussie scorer had absolutely no idea that league president Amanda Duffy was about to announce the winner of the distinction when we spoke Friday afternoon.
I broke the news to Kerr — one of five finalists for the award — 10 minutes before the ceremony. When I did, she practically shrugged.
"There's something bigger in two days, so I'm mainly just focused on that," she said. "I didn't even know it was coming up, so."
Kerr paced the Red Stars with 18 goals during the regular season to break her own record and earn the NWSL Golden Boot for the third consecutive year — and she did so despite missing four games to compete at the 2019 World Cup in France.
Of course, the Australian national team captain was also honored with a spot on the NWSL's controversial 2019 Best XI lineup, but individual accolades evidently mean little to Kerr. She consistently steered our conversation away from herself to laud her Chicago teammates, coaching staff, team doctors, and fans, so it was no surprise when she shrugged off the praise she received during the MVP trophy presentation ceremony.
"Obviously I don't do this by myself," Kerr began, motioning to her teammates who were looking on. "Eighteen goals doesn't come from just one player, so thank you to my teammates… They allow me to be the best player I can all year so it's a huge team effort."
"This means really nothing if we don't win on Sunday," she added.
—Meredith Cash (@mercash22) October 25, 2019
Like her club, Kerr will make her first appearance in an NWSL title game at Sunday afternoon's match. The crafty forward — who recorded five of Australia's nine goals through four World Cup games this summer — scored the Red Stars' lone goal just eight minutes into their win against Tobin Heath's Portland Thorns last Sunday.
The victory marked Chicago's first time advancing past the NWSL semifinal in five consecutive tries, and Kerr and her teammates had the privelege of finally breaking through in front of their home crowd. The league's all-time leading scorer certainly acknowledges that her Windy City squad is peaking at the right time, as Sunday's 1-0 dub extended the Red Stars' winning streak to six straight games
"We've been training really well and things have just been going our way which doesn't normally happen with this Chicago team," Kerr said. "We feel like this is our time."
Fans at home can watch the NWSL championship game — in which Kerr's Red Stars will take on the reigning champion North Carolina Courage at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, North Carolina — Sunday at 3:30 p.m. on ESPN.