Sam Kerr says she kept her gender a secret when playing on a boys team as a kid
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The star football player wrote that when she played junior Australian rules football for South Fremantle at 'five or six' years old, she kept her gender a secret after being allowed to play with the lads.
“I knew I’d be the only girl on the team but that didn’t worry me at all,” she wrote.
Kerr said that many assumed she was male because of her ‘short hair and blonde tips’.
The forward used this to her advantage and decided to ‘keep [her) gender a secret’ as she didn’t want to be treated differently.
However, the 29-year-old revealed that once one of her teammates discovered the truth, he had an unexpected reaction.
“I remember one of the boys crying when he found out," she said.
“But as good as I was out on the field, and as much as I loved playing the game, the physical differences between the guys and me eventually became too pronounced and the play was too rough.
“One day, I came home from a game with yet another black eye and bloody lip, and that’s when my dad and brother both said, ‘Nup, this isn’t happening anymore’.”
Once she got ‘battered’ on the field, her father and coach to pulled her from the boys’ team, as they deemed it ‘too dangerous’.
At the time, there was no junior girls team, leaving Kerr upset.
“I understood the reasons why, but I was heartbroken. Back then, there were no girls’ teams in my area for me to join, and to know that I’d never play a sport that I loved so much ever again was devastating,” she said.
Due to gender restrictions, Kerr was forced to switch to football at 12 before being spotted by Perth Glory striker Bobby Despotovski.
At age 15, Kerr made her international debut with the Matildas as a substitute in a match against Italy in 2009.
As they say...the rest is history.