Sam Kerr’s Awkward Postgame Interview Shows She Gets It, Even If FIFA Clearly Doesn’t

Sam Kerr isn’t afraid to speak her mind. 

We found this out after she inspired her team to a comeback win over Brazil earlier in the Women’s World Cup and told her critics what they could do.

But Sam Kerr also isn’t afraid to say nice things to those who deserve it, as evidenced by her awkward postgame interview after being awarded the Player of the Match award from FIFA.

Kerr became the first woman to score four goals in a World Cup match in a 4-1 win over Jamaica on Tuesday (Michelle Akers and Alex Morgan have scored five in a match), so she was a clear choice for Player of the Match. 

After the game, Kerr was interviewed as part of a FIFA promotion with Visa (everything’s a way to make a buck for FIFA). Kerr said the most inspiring moment for her during this Women’s World Cup wasn’t her team’s massive comeback against Brazil or her four goals against Jamaica but the joy from Thailand when it scored against Sweden

Classy stuff from a world-class player to talk about another team’s success over her own.

The interview from FIFA, however, was particularly cringeworthy. 

Can you imagine FIFA asking a men’s player immediately after a World Cup match what message they’d give to young boys looking to follow in his footsteps or go out of the way to say his performance will inspire boys around the world? 

No, of course not. (British postgame interviews can get grossly chummy, but only to promote the player or team being interviewed.)

Kerr was asked these questions because FIFA thinks the Women’s World Cup is just about showing FIFA cares about women, trying to forcefully add inspiration beyond the mere fact that these supreme athletes are incredible soccer players, which should be all you need.

It’s just another example of FIFA showing it doesn’t get it when it comes to the Women’s World Cup, which is no surprise given FIFA’s slogan for the 2019 tournament is Dare To Shine. The patronizing motto is FIFA once again thinking it’s doing the right thing when it instead insults the women who work so hard on their craft. The Washington Post’s Liz Clarke, in bashing the #DareToShine slogan, explained it better than I ever could. 

“Sadly, FIFA has never embraced the brutal, brilliant athleticism of women’s soccer — much less celebrated or adequately rewarded it,” Clarke wrote. “For decades, FIFA has treated women’s soccer as if it’s some sort of exercise in self-esteem for female players and young girls. Real soccer is what men play.

“But inspiring little girls isn’t all the women in the 2019 World Cup will do. They are athletes first. A slogan that reduces the 2019 Women’s World Cup to a Hallmark greeting card sends a message both tired and tin-eared.”

Beyond messages that clearly miss the mark, FIFA has screwed up ticketing, not placing groups together. More recently it has inflated ticket sales; scores of empty seats are seen at apparent sell-outs and overall ticket sales are lagging behind the 2015 tournament, even if you count the 16 percent of tickets that are complimentary. 

In one appalling situation, an Iranian couple was wrongly kicked out of a stadium.

The pair was wearing shirts with “Let Iranian women enter their stadiums,” “No to forced hijab” and “Girls of revolution street” on them. Security ejected them from the Canada-New Zealand match on June 15.

FIFA has a rule against political messages during FIFA games, which is a bit harsh but somewhat understandable if enforced correctly. However, women’s participation in sport is not a political issue but a social issue, similar to LGBTQ rights. 

FIFA, to its credit, admitted it was wrong to kick the Iranian couple out of the stadium, but it clearly did not do enough to prevent such idiocy during the Women’s World Cup. 

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Sam Kerr is already a women’s soccer legend at the age of 25. The forward led both the NWSL and Australian W-League in scoring the last two seasons and is currently tied with Alex Morgan in the Golden Boot Race (albeit having played two more matches). 

She also gets women’s soccer, even if FIFA doesn’t and probably never will. 

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