Soccer superstar Sam Kerr says it’s the “greatest honor” to become the first WA-born woman to receive the key to the city — and she hopes she won’t be the last.
For the first time since the Premiership-winning 1992 West Coast Eagles team, an athlete was given the city’s top honors in front of hundreds of people at Forrest Place on Friday.
It was the crowning achievement of the best year of his career for Kerr, who became the first Australian to previously win the UK Players’ Player of Year after helping Chelsea to their third consecutive Women’s Super League title.
The superstar also won WSL Player of the Season and was voted the Football Writers Association’s Footballer of the Year in a huge year for the 28-year-old.
“I feel really proud. It’s amazing, I’m a proud Western Australian. It’s the greatest honor for me,” Kerr said.
“I think it shows the growth of women’s sport that I am the first, but hopefully not the last.
“This could not have happened 10 years ago. To have all these kids here, it’s a proud moment for me and hopefully they’ll remember for the rest of their lives because I remember there weren’t that many opportunities for young girls growing up.”
A green-clad crowd also showed up to celebrate West Coast Fever’s first premiership on a WA women’s sport holiday.
Fever coach Dan Ryan and captain Courtney Bruce were presented with a special shield by Perth Lord Mayor Basil Zempilas as fans cheered them on.
The loudest cheers were saved for Bruce as she took the stage with the premiership trophy as the celebration of their first title in 25 years continued.
Players then spent half an hour signing autographs for adoring fans, who were still in the mood after Sunday’s grand final.
Fever netball boss Sue Gaudion said they didn’t expect so many fans, but it was “an absolute honour”.
“It’s almost equivalent to the number of people showing up for the game. It shows you how big the West Coast Fever has gotten,” she said.
“People just want to be part of the success, which is great.
“I believe we have a group that is very humble and very grateful for its history and humble beginnings, so it’s almost a constant in the conversation with the girls around that this is bigger than us.”