3. Sam Kerr
You could argue nobody in the world had a better individual year in 2017 than Australia international Sam Kerr, the fearsome forward just lacking the trophies to go with it.
Kerr and Australia did win the first Tournament of Nations, the 24-year-old’s hat-trick against 2011 world champions Japan one of many highlights for the striker this year.
It was a year where Kerr just couldn’t stop scoring, 17 goals in NWSL broke Kim Little’s record for goals in a single season and Kerr was twice voted Player of the Month, four times into Team of the Month, the NWSL Best XI and received the coveted Most Valuable Player award.
None of it was enough to help Sky Blue FC into the play-offs, but Kerr left many magic memories behind anyway. She scored a late winner to record a victory away at league leaders North Carolina Courage, before a late 12-minute hat-trick turned around a 2-0 deficit against FC Kansas City.
Despite going down 5-4, Kerr scored all four of Sky Blue’s goals at Seattle Reign, and her form was no different for the Westfield Matildas.
After her hat-trick against Japan, Kerr found the net four times in three games against Brazil, before two goals on two separate occasions against South Korea rounded off a quite incredible year.
At 24, the scary question is surely what more is there to come?
Alen Stajcic, Australia head coach says:
“The ability Sam’s shown this year she’s always had, just not shown it consistently. She won our player of the year by a mile, she was virtually player of the match for us every game. She’s transferred all that to the NWSL where she produced a level of consistency over 20 matches at an amazing level.
“The goal scoring is the cherry on top of the cake, her ability to engage in the game and bring other players into the game on top of scoring goals. She’s had an amazing year, it’s made her one of the most dangerous, if not the most dangerous player in the world.”
Christy Holly, former Sky Blue FC manager says:
“Sam is a fantastic player and someone who I feel has a lot of growth ahead of her, she has put in a lot of hard work to overcome her injuries and the results are now showing. She can cause havoc for any defense for a number of reasons, whether it is her ability run at a defender and create for others or because of her very instinctive ability in front of goal.
Lydia Williams, Australia team mate says:
“Sam’s grown from strength to strength in the past few years. She’s become this dynamic striker who just has an eye for goals, from heading to shots to assists, she is incredible to watch. She’s unselfish when she needs to be and then punishing when she’s on top of her game.”
Elise Kellond-Knight, Australia team mate says:
“Sammy has had an unbelievable year for both club and country. She has been in top goal scoring form and has shown real professionalism in her training environment. I’ve never seen a player perform so consistently, proving that it’s not just fortune or luck but a mix of class, determination and true quality.”
Caitlin Foord, Australia team mate says:
“Sam’s my favourite player to play along side and I am glad that she is on my team. She’s a very scary player for defenders to come up against right now.”
Chloe Logarzo, Australia team mate says:
“Sam over the last year has been the most consistent player in our national team, raising the her level and everyone around her. She is an infectious person that has never ending energy.”
Kathryn Gill, former Australia international says:
“Explosive, charismatic, opportunistic and technically gifted player. Sam is great at both getting in behind the defense and with the ball at her feet, possess a great turn of pace and covers ground exceptionally well, can turn and run at defenders at pace. She’s a threat both in the air and on the ground, with an eye for goal and the composure to convert her chances. Works hard in defence and is unselfish in terms of her decision making.”