Sam Kerr: Australian striker officially ruled out of Paris Olympics

It usually takes at least nine months for professional athletes to return to fitness after an ACL injury [EPA]

Australian football star Sam Kerr has officially been ruled out of the 2024 Paris Olympics, as she recovers from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear.

The striker was injured during a Chelsea training camp in January.

Announcing a squad for Australia‘s final pre-Olympics friendlies, the Matildas’ coach said Kerr would not return in time for the Games in July.

Kerr – arguably Australia’s biggest sporting idol – is the nation’s all-time record goal scorer.

She is the latest in a long list of high-profile female footballers – including England captain Leah Williamson and Dutch striker Vivianne Miedema – to suffer an ACL injury. It usually takes at least nine months for professional athletes to return to fitness after surgery.

The Matildas have had a horror run-up to the Olympics, with several core members of the team sidelined by injury.

Key midfielder Katrina Gorry has been out after ankle surgery, defender Clare Hunt has battled a foot fracture, and stalwart Aivi Luik has a hamstring injury. Young midfielder Amy Sayer last month tore her ACL and has also been ruled out for the Olympics.

Ahead of the send-off matches against China, Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said selection for the Olympics squad of 18 players had become a complicated equation – with some hopefuls racing against time to return to the field.

“This window will be a tough one for me and my staff in terms of evaluating players, where they are, and then the final selection process for Paris,” he said.

Kerr was expected to be an integral part of the Matildas medal campaign in Paris, after the team just missed the podium at both the previous Olympics in Tokyo and the World Cup in Australia last year.

During her time at Chelsea, Kerr has won four Women’s Super League titles, three FA Cups, two Women’s League Cups and the Women’s Community Shield.

She has scored 99 goals for Chelsea and has scored 64 goals for Australia, and has also been nominated for the Ballon d’Or Féminin – the top prize in women’s football – every year since its inception in 2018.

But it has been a difficult 12 months for Kerr. She spent much of the home World Cup on the bench with a calf strain, and – shortly after her ACL injury – was in January charged with racially aggravated harassment of a London police officer, to which she has pleaded not guilty.


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