From Staff Reports
Sam Kerr is no stranger to accolades.
The Red Stars standout forward took home two awards from the 2019 ESPY Awards, winning Best NWSL Footballer fir the first time and earning Best International Women’s Footballer for the second consecutive year.
Kerr is the all-time leading goal-scorer in both the NWSL and the Australian Westfield W-League, and won the Golden Boot awards as the leading scorer in both league’s in 2018.
Kerr won the NWSL’s Golden Boot in 2017 and 2018 – she scored 16 goals last season – and with nine tallies in 2019 is the frontrunner to take the honor yet again. The
Australian national, who is still only 25 years old, is the league’s all-time leading goal-scorer with 68.
Kerr competed with Australia in the 2019 Women’s World Cup, and her knack for putting the ball in the net was on full display in a Group Stage contest against Jamaica. Kerr made history by scoring four goals in the match, becoming the first player born outside of the U.S. to score more than three goals in a World Cup game.
In her native Australia, Kerr was named the Westfield W-League’s first-ever Marquee Signing. She led the Perth Glory to the Grand Final, scoring 13 goals in 11 games and winning the Golden Boot for the second-straight season in that league. Her hat trick against the Western Sydney Wanderers made her the W-League’s all-time leading scorer.
The Chicago Fire, meanwhile, have been named the 2019 Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year for its efforts to make a difference in the community, specifically through the Chicago Fire Foundation’s P.L.A.Y.S. Program (Participate, Learn, Achieve, Youth, Soccer).
The Fire were recognized at the 5th annual Sports Humanitarian Awards, presented by ESPN at L.A. LIVE’s The Novo.
The ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award represents a sports team that demonstrates how teamwork between athletes and their community relations efforts or foundations can create a significant impact on a community or cause. As a recipient of the ESPN Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award, the Fire will receive a $100,000 grant from ESPN to be directed toward the P.L.A.Y.S. Program.
The finalists for this year’s award included New York City Football Club of MLS, the NHL’s Anaheim Ducks and the Los Angeles Dodgers. This year marked the second consecutive year in which the Fire were recognized as a finalist for the honor.
“It has always been extremely important to my family that our Club cares for – and stands up for – our community,” said Chicago Fire Chairman and Owner Andrew Hauptman. “The Fire organization and ownership is proud to take a leadership position in giving back to neighborhoods across Chicagoland. It is humbling to receive this honor from ESPN. The generous grant will allow our P.L.A.Y.S. program to serve more youth in our Chicago Public Schools. Every day, our players practice alongside a sign that reads, ‘Be a giver.’ That’s what we believe in.”
P.L.A.Y.S. is a 10-week after-school program that combines soccer with social and emotional learning character skills. The goal is to improve participants’ academic performance, while providing a safe and supportive environment to engage in soccer.
P.L.A.Y.S. participants have had a decrease in behavior infractions, number of disciplinary incidents, unexcused absences, suspensions and failing grades. There has also been a 50% drop in crime near program spaces. Sixty percent of P.L.A.Y.S. schools were in the top 20 most violent neighborhoods in Chicago.
This is the fourth major national or international community-focused award the Club has received since 2015. P.L.A.Y.S. – the signature program of the Fire Foundation – received the Community Award at the 2018 Leaders Sports Awards (London, UK) and was recognized as the 2016 Beyond Sport Team of the Year (London, UK) and the 2015 Robert Wood Johnson Sport Team of the Year (Princeton, N.J.).