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Sam Kerr tears ACL, becomes latest women’s soccer star felled by injury ‘epidemic’

In Sports
January 07, 2024
PERTH, AUSTRALIA - NOVEMBER 01: Sam Kerr of the Matildas celebrates her goal during the AFC Women's Asian Olympic Qualifier match between Australia Matildas and Chinese Taipei at HBF Park on November 01, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – NOVEMBER 01: Sam Kerr of the Matildas celebrates her goal during the AFC Women’s Asian Olympic Qualifier match between Australia Matildas and Chinese Taipei at HBF Park on November 01, 2023 in Perth, Australia. (Photo by James Worsfold/Getty Images)

Sam Kerr, one of women’s soccer’s brightest stars, tore her ACL during a recent training session and will miss the rest of the 2023-24 season, her club and national team both announced Sunday.

Chelsea said that Kerr suffered the injury during their mid-season training camp in Morocco, while preparing for the second half of the Women’s Super League season over its winter break.

Australia’s soccer federation simultaneously confirmed that Kerr had “ruptured” the knee ligament, and would face an “extended period on [the] sidelines.” The injury, which almost always requires surgery, requires at least six months of rehab, and often closer to 12. Australia said there is “no current timeframe for her return to football.”

It’s the second cruel setback in six months for Kerr, Australia’s captain and the face of the team that captivated an entire nation at the 2023 World Cup. On the eve of that tournament, which in many ways should have been hers, Kerr suffered a calf injury that cost her the entire group stage.

She returned to score an unforgettable semifinal goal, then set her sights on more trophies at Chelsea, plus the 2024 Olympics. But all of that is now shrouded in injury doubt. The Olympic soccer tournament kicks off July 25 in France. Kerr would have to complete her recovery in about seven months.

Her injury is also the latest in a long line of torn ACLs that have plagued women’s soccer and felled superstars in recent years. Six of the world’s top 16 players tore the ligament between June 2022 and April 2023; five missed the World Cup because of it. Kerr has now joined the heartbroken club.

“Absolutely gutted for you my friend,” Australian teammate Caitlin Foord wrote on Twitter.

“No words,” Steph Catley, another Australian veteran, wrote alongside a broken heart emoji. “Here with you every single step.”

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