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How the most turbulent year of Sam Kerr’s life left her badly injured, out of the Olympics, off contract and facing a trial for allegedly racially abusing a cop


Matildas captain Sam Kerr‘s sporting career has hit a crossroads after an incredibly turbulent year that has seen her life take a staggering series of twists and turns.

The Chelsea striker has pleaded not guilty to a charge of racially aggravated harassment of a police officer, according to the UK’s Crown Prosecution Service.

Kerr was charged with causing a police officer harassment, alarm or distress arising from an alleged incident in Twickenham, south-west London, on January 30, 2023.

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson said the incident involved an officer who was responding to a complaint about a taxi fare.

Kerr denied the charge at a plea and trial preparation hearing at Kingston Upon Thames Crown Court on Monday.

She is due to face trial next February, leaving the Matildas ace in limbo with her future with Women’s Super League powerhouse Chelsea in doubt.

After having the world at her feet at the start of 2023, Kerr has endured a year of insane ups and downs that has now left her career at a crossroads

After having the world at her feet at the start of 2023, Kerr has endured a year of insane ups and downs that has now left her career at a crossroads

Kerr posted this image with fiancé Kristie Mewis on the same day she allegedly caused a police officer harassment, alarm or distress in London

Kerr posted this image with fiancé Kristie Mewis on the same day she allegedly caused a police officer harassment, alarm or distress in London

Kerr in January Kerr suffered an ACL tear that has robbed her of a spot at the Paris Olympics and ruled her out of the rest of Chelsea's WSL campaign

Kerr in January Kerr suffered an ACL tear that has robbed her of a spot at the Paris Olympics and ruled her out of the rest of Chelsea’s WSL campaign

Kerr is off contract with The Blues at the end of this season and although she has reportedly reached an in principle agreement with the club to extend her stay at Kingsmeadow, it has not been confirmed that she has officially re-signed.

It remains unknown what impact these allegations will have on those contract talks. Neither Chelsea nor the Women’s Super League had released a statement on Kerr at the time of publication.

However, when Kerr’s teammate Lauren James suffered racial abuse in December last year, the team made its stance on the issue plain by stating: ‘The club stands strongly against any form of abuse and discriminatory behaviour. Discrimination has no place at Chelsea Football Club or in any of our communities. We will take action against any individual that we can identify. We stand with you, Lauren.’ 

Colombian forward Mayra Ramirez has replaced Kerr in the interim at Chelsea and scored on debut in the club’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace last month. 

Kerr’s last Instagram Story before her court appearance was a post congratulating Ramirez.

Her fiancé Kristie Mewis also posted an image of Ramirez with the caption ‘go on Kitten!’. 

Curiously, the couple’s joint Instagram account later re-posted the same image except this time with the addition of a sad-face emoji and a blue heart. 

Kerr's last Instagram story before her court appearance saw her share the Chelsea post congratulating her replacement, Mayra Ramirez, for scoring on debut (pictured)

Kerr’s last Instagram story before her court appearance saw her share the Chelsea post congratulating her replacement, Mayra Ramirez, for scoring on debut (pictured)

Kerr also cheered on Mayra Ramirez as she came onto the field on debit for Chelsea

Later, Kerr and Mewis re-posted this image, adding a sad face emoji and a blue heart

Kerr also cheered on Mayra Ramirez as she came onto the field on debut for Chelsea. She and fiancee Kristie Mewis later re-posted this image, adding a sad-face emoji and a blue heart

It caps off a year that saw Kerr crash from the penthouse of the sport to the an unsure future, left badly injured, out of the Matildas side for the Paris Olympics and facing an uncertain future professionally and personally. 

Prior to the alleged incident on January 30, 2023, Kerr was flying. 

She had joined Chelsea midway through the 2019-20 season and scored 99 goals in 128 games for them as she played a leading role securing nine trophies including three FA Cups, two League Cups and four WSL titles. 

Individually, Kerr has also won the Golden Boot twice and was controversially runner-up to Spain’s Aitana Bonmatí at the Ballon d’Or awards last year.

With a FIFA Women’s World Cup on home soil ahead of her in 2023, Kerr had the world at her feet.

It remains unknown what happened that night in Twickenham, with the details to be revealed in court next year, but when Kerr was charged in March, 2023, the dominos started falling.

Kerr has been left frustrated time and time again in the last year with injuries ruling her out of the majority of the Matildas' matches

Kerr has been left frustrated time and time again in the last year with injuries ruling her out of the majority of the Matildas’ matches

Fans were left in the dark on the extent of Kerr's injuries during the World Cup and questioned whether she would play at all

Fans were left in the dark on the extent of Kerr’s injuries during the World Cup and questioned whether she would play at all 

While Australia's best-ever finish at a World Cup was widely celebrated, Kerr was left to rue what could have been after the playoff for third place against Sweden (pictured)

While Australia’s best-ever finish at a World Cup was widely celebrated, Kerr was left to rue what could have been after the playoff for third place against Sweden (pictured)

As the days ticked down until the Women’s World Cup in August, Kerr was battling a private pain. 

She was carrying dual calf injuries that threatened to rule her out of the entire tournament and rob her of a chance to represent her country on the biggest stage on home soil.

Kerr and the Matildas elected to keep these injuries under wraps, with supporters only finding out when she was ruled out of the tournament opener against Ireland on the eve of the match.

The team’s efforts to keep the seriousness of her injury from rival teams left fans confused. Was it one calf, or both? Was it a strain or a tear? Will she play at all?

She would eventually haul herself onto the pitch for the knockout games, but it was clear Kerr was not 100 per cent.

In the playoff for third place against Sweden, which the Matildas lost, Kerr crashed to the turf and it was confirmed she had injured her other calf.

While the Aussie women were hailed as heroes, with the Queensland Premier even promising to build a statue to honour their achievements, it was a tournament that featured more than its fair share of frustration for Kerr.

‘I’ve just had a bit of an icky run the last two months, but now I’m back to getting back to full fitness, enjoying being back on the park, sick of being with the physios,’ Kerr said upon returning to Chelsea after the World Cup.

‘I am back to being on the park every day, training, playing.’

Kerr is pictured receiving medical treatment at a Chelsea mid-season camp where her worst fears were realised as a ruptured ligament in her knee ended her Olympic dream

Kerr is pictured receiving medical treatment at a Chelsea mid-season camp where her worst fears were realised as a ruptured ligament in her knee ended her Olympic dream 

It is the second time an ACL injury has robbed Kerr of the chance to represent her country at the Olympics, after also being cut down with the same injury ahead of the London Games

It is the second time an ACL injury has robbed Kerr of the chance to represent her country at the Olympics, after also being cut down with the same injury ahead of the London Games

But her determination was not enough. Taking part in a mid-season Chelsea training camp, Kerr’s knee buckled and she was delivered the worst possible news – her ACL had ruptured.

The knee injury meant no more appearances for Chelsea this season and no chance of appearing for the Matildas at the Games. Cruelly, the same injury eliminated Kerr from the 2012 London Olympics as well.

So while Kerr may have reached an in principle agreement with Chelsea, her pending court appearance coupled with a year punctuated by injury will cast at least some doubt on her chances of staying with the club.

Of course, the year has not been a complete write-off for the Matildas star. On a personal level, she has had 12 months to remember.

She has forged strong bonds with her Matildas teammates as they become the darlings of the Australian sporting landscape.

Kerr recently celebrated teammate Mackenzie Arnold’s 30th birthday along with fellow Matildas, friends and family, appearing happy and posting lyrics from the song Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield just before news of the charges broke.

By her side in the image is fiancée Mewis, with the couple announcing their engagement in New York and Kerr’s hometown of Perth in 2023.

On the day Kerr appeared via videolink in court, Mewis posted an image of herself wearing a sheer black bodysuit. Kerr added a cheeky GIF of herself on the post, showing her sense of humour and love for Mewis are both alive and well.

While the Matildas continue to give fans hope that Kerr could play at the Olympics, her father Roger (pictured left) has ruled out that possibility

While the Matildas continue to give fans hope that Kerr could play at the Olympics, her father Roger (pictured left) has ruled out that possibility

Mewis posted this image on the day Kerr faced court via video link, with the Aussie star replying with a cheeky GIF

Mewis posted this image on the day Kerr faced court via video link, with the Aussie star replying with a cheeky GIF 

Kerr and Mewis (pictured bottom left) celebrated Matilda Mackenzie Arnold's 30th birthday, with the goalie posting this pic not long before the charge against Kerr became public

Kerr and Mewis (pictured bottom left) celebrated Matilda Mackenzie Arnold’s 30th birthday, with the goalie posting this pic not long before the charge against Kerr became public

In court, Kerr only spoke to identify herself and enter a not guilty plea. 

Days ago, her father Roger assured Matildas and Chelsea fans that his daughter was mentally well and working on her rehabilitation.

Once again, the Matildas are playing mind games with their supporters, refusing to rule out the possibility that Kerr could be an outside chance of playing in Paris, with an assessment to be conducted three months after her surgery.

But Roger has dashed those hopes.

‘Yeah, definitely out of the Olympics,’ he told the ABC on Friday.

‘So she’ll miss that and be ready for the start of Chelsea’s new season.

‘Naturally, everything will be very disappointing, but it’s usually the life of a sportsman, your best player goes down.

‘But it’s [Paris] a real good thing for the Matildas, they’ve developed really well. Sam’s part of the team but it’s the whole team and it’s a very successful team at the moment, so hopefully they bring home a medal.’



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