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Matildas captain Sam Kerr has called for Australia’s deep run in the Women’s World Cup to be used as a catalyst for change in Australian soccer.
Kerr, speaking after the heartbreaking 3-1 semi-final loss to England, said funding was needed to develop grassroots soccer in Australia.
Sam Kerr is devastated after the final whistle in the World Cup semi-final between Australia and England.Credit: Reuters
“I can only speak for the Matildas [but], you know, we need funding in our development, we need funding in our grassroots. We need funding, you know, we need funding everywhere,” Kerr said after the match.
“You know, comparison to other sports isn’t really good enough and hopefully this tournament kind of changes that because that’s the legacy you leave, not what you do on the pitch.
“The legacy is what you do off the pitch. Hopefully. I mean, it’s hard to talk about now, but hopefully that this is the start of something new.”
Kerr said the support from people around the nation was a bright spot in an otherwise disappointing evening.
“That’s kind of the only thing that’s keeping me smiling right now is the way that we’ve kind of inspired the nation,” Kerr said.
“Everyone’s got behind us. The tournament’s been amazing. Every single team and player and person that’s visited has said how beautiful our country is.
“So, I think for us, it’s been hopefully life-changing for women’s football in Australia.”
Asked whether the attention had shown that Australia was a “football nation”, Kerr said the support had been there, they just brought it out.
“I think the crowds and the fans have proved that, not us [that Australia is a football nation],” Kerr said.
“They’re the ones that have come out and supported us and watched us on the big screen, bought our jerseys.
“I think that’s all down to the fans showing that this country really will get behind football if you bring the world game to our country.”
She added the tournament wasn’t a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, despite the perceived home tournament advantage.
“If you bring the product to Australia, we’ll go out there and support it. And hopefully, we’ve got a few more fans that will stick around.
“But now it’s time for funding and all of that stuff to be invested in the game because this is the world game for a reason.”
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