Sam Kerr has been named AFC Women’s Player of the Year for the second time in her illustrious career.
Six years after her first triumph, Kerr was recognised with the award at the AFC Annual Awards Doha 2022 in Qatar on Wednesday morning (AEDT).
It comes a day after she had a career best second-placed finish in the Ballon d’Or, behind Spain and Barcelona star Aitana Bonmati.
She joins Aya Miyawa (2011, 2012, 2015) and Homare Sawa (2004, 2008) as the only players to win the award more than once.
“I just want to say what an honour it is to win this award, especially up against some amazing finalists,” Kerr said in her acceptance speech via video.
“It has been an amazing year for me and my team and I just want to thank all my team-mates, my coaches, my family and friends – thank you very much again.”
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Kerr helped Chelsea win the WSL title last season, scoring 12 league goals, and played a key role in their Women’s FA Cup success along with making the UEFA Women’s Champions League semi-finals.
Her performances for the Blues were recognised by winning the Football Writers Association Women’s Footballer of the Year for a second consecutive season.
On the international stage, Kerr’s World Cup campaign was marred by a calf injury on the eve of the tournament, but she returned just in time for the knockout stages, helping Australia to their best ever finish at the tournament.
Kerr returns to action tonight with the Matildas, when they face Chinese Taipei in their final Round Two AFC Olympic Qualifier at HBF Park.
Meanwhile, Socceroos star Mathew Leckie fell short in the race for the AFC Men’s Player of the Year, which was won by Saudi Arabian attacker Salem Al Dawsari.
Japan’s Hajime Moriyasu received the AFC Men’s Coach of the Year, ahead of Socceroos boss Graham Arnold, while Maika Hamano took home the AFC Women’s Youth Player of the Year, a category Matildas star Mary Fowler was also nominated for.
Football Australia were awarded Gold in the AFC President Recognition Awards for Grassroots Football and Chris Beath (referee), Anton Shchetinin (assistant referee) and Ashley Beecham (assistant referee) were recognised with the AFC Referees Special Award.