Sam Kerr crowned Asian women’s player of the year

Sam Kerr shines for Matildas on and off field

A day after narrowly missing out on world soccer’s top individual prize, Matildas captain Sam Kerr has been named Asia’s women’s player of the year.

The Chelsea forward was named Asia’s best for the second time, having previously been crowned the Asian Football Confederation’s leading female player in 2017.

She becomes the third woman to claim the award more than once, joining Japanese duo Aya Miyama and Homare Sawa as a multiple title-holder.

It has been a busy few days for Kerr. On Monday, the 30-year-old Western Australian finished runner-up to Spain’s World Cup-winner Aitana Bonmati in voting for the prestigious Ballon d’Or, soccer’s top individual honour.

“I just want to say what an amazing honour it is to win this award, especially up against some amazing finalists,” said Kerr, who beat China’s Zhang Linyang and Saki Kumagai from Japan, the 2019 winner, for the Asian confederation honour.

“It has been an amazing year for me and my team and I just want to thank all my teammates, my coaches, my family and friends.”

The award came as the Matildas prepared to continue their Olympic qualifying campaign against minnows Chinese Taipei in Perth. They are hoping to continue the strong form that led them to score 10 and concede zero goals across their first two qualifying games.

Kerr has also shone in Perth, scoring a hat-trick in front of her home fans in Australia’s 8-0 drubbing of the Philippines on Sunday.

The Asian confederation awards were presented in Doha on Tuesday for the first time since 2019 having been suspended for the three years due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salem Al-Dawsari, who scored Saudi Arabia’s winner in its shock 2-1 victory over Argentina at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, took out the men’s award.

Al-Dawsari also led Al-Hilal to the final of the Asian Champions League and the Club World Cup.

Socceroo Mathew Leckie, of Melbourne City, was third with Qatar’s Almoez Ali second.

Hajime Moriyasu won the trophy for best men’s coach for his achievements in leading Japan to the last 16 at the World Cup. They included victories over European powerhouses Germany and Spain in the group stage.

Shui Qingxia claimed the honours in the women’s coaching category after she guided China to the 2022 Women’s Asian Cup in India, the country’s first continental title since 2006.

Australian match officials Chris Beath, Anton Shchetinin and Ashley Beecham received the AFC referees special award.

-with AAP

Topics: Sam Kerr
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