Perth Glory and Matilda striker Samantha Kerr admits she had talks with the AFL in a bid to switch codes, but saw more opportunity in football.
The AFL women’s league is set for its inaugural season next year as the first high profile code-hopper, former Melbourne City and Matilda goalkeeper, Bri Davey will be involved for Carlton.
Kerr, the sister of former AFL West Coast Eagles player Daniel Kerr, says a code war is not the answer.
“One day I might finish off in an Eagles guernsey, but there’s more opportunity, more to accomplish in women’s soccer at the moment,” Kerr told FourFourTwo.
“I’ve had a few chats, but there’s more opportunity in soccer for women at the moment. I love the game, it’s given me so much and I feel like I need to repay the game and grow it further.
“Soccer has grown massively. I remember people didn’t even know what soccer was in Perth, now they’re supporting it and everyone’s getting out.
“Even my family and friends are hearing about it more and it’s great to see, there’s more girls out playing.
“I think all the other codes are starting to get a little bit worried, but I’m one of those people who likes to support all codes. I don’t want this code war mentality… AFL gets out to support the soccer and soccer gets out to support AFL - any sport in Australia is great and it’s really good for us.”
Kerr, who was part of the Matildas Olympic squad this year, came off a season in the NWSL for Sky Blue FC and believes there was a different mentality in the United States.
“I lived in America for half a year and I see it’s like city to city, so Melbourne supports Melbourne no matter what it is, I think that can be a big thing in Australia,” she said.
“We haven’t really got onto that – supporting each other no matter what sport you play, it’s this mentality where ‘soccer is better than AFL’.
“I’m a sport person, I love all sports so whether it’s AFL, soccer, netball… I get out and support whoever is from my state and I think that’s what everyone should do.”
W-League side Melbourne City created history in the W-League last season being the first club to win all its regular season games on route to claiming the Championship.
The club created more history a fortnight ago by unveiling its new facility which aims at giving female footballers equal resources.
Championship-winning City coach Joe Montemurro praised what the AFL was doing and deemed it as healthy competition.
“Challenge from other sports is always extremely good for us to make sure we’re doing the right things,” Montemurro told FourFourTwo.
Montemurro, who came from Melbourne Victory two seasons ago, said “money was a poor excuse” and that clubs did not need world class facilities to set high standards.
“You need to continue to show the credibility in ascertaining professional conditions for female athletes,” he said.
“As long as they’re doing that - whichever sport the player chooses to play, as long as they’re getting into real environments that are professional that allow the elite athletes to work under proper conditions.
“We entered into this to create a professional environment, a real environment for elite athletes to work, whether they’re male, female or youth.
“I just think like anything if you don’t have the inverted commas – ‘the resources’, and it’s not just about money, it’s about coaching, programs, management, backroom staff, medical and the right guidance from a managerial point of view.
“Set your standards and stick to those, the problem is the goal posts shifts too often for me and that’s what I don’t like.”