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Sam Kerr tears ACL in Chelsea training, likely to miss Olympics

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BRISTOL, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 17: Sam Kerr of Chelsea walks out prior to the Barclays Women´s Super League match between Bristol City and Chelsea FC at Ashton Gate Stadium on December 17, 2023 in Bristol, England. (Photo by Harriet Lander - Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images)

Sam Kerr, superstar striker for Chelsea and the Australia women’s national soccer team, became the latest player to suffer an ACL injury, with her club making the announcement of the injury on Sunday.

Kerr sustained the injury during the team’s warm weather training camp in Morocco. She is expected to be sidelined “for an extended period,” the Australian national team announced, along with noting that she had ruptured her ACL – which was more than what Chelsea’s announcement had said. Kerr captains the Australian national team, which made it all the way to the semi-finals of last summer’s World Cup.

She has been ruled out of the remainder of the Women’s Super League season and Australia’s AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers Round 3 series in February. It’s also likely that she will miss this summer’s Olympics if the Matildas qualify.

“Considering how hard Sam has worked over the past six months to return to play, this news is a devastating blow for everyone,” Australia coach Tony Gustavsson said in a statement.

“With her ability to lead by example, Sam’s guidance and influence on the team is significant and, as a result, this will be an incredible loss for the national team. Our focus now is on ensuring she has all the support she wants and needs to navigate recovery and rehab.”

Since joining Chelsea in 2019, Kerr has scored 99 goals in 128 matches while helping the club to four WSL titles, three FA Cups, two Women’s League Cups and the Women’s Community Shield. She’s also won two WSL Golden Boots during that time frame and was runner-up for the 2023 Ballon d’Or.

She joins a long list of women’s soccer players to have suffered ACL injuries, which includes Chelsea teammate Catarina Macario. Macario, who ruptured her ACL in June of 2022, has yet to return to play.

Other WSL players to have ruptured their ACLs include Arsenal’s Beth Mead, Leah Williamson and Vivianne Miedema, who all missed the World Cup. Canada forward Janine Beckie also missed the World Cup with an ACL injury. Since 2021, at least 87 players from eight of the world’s top women’s soccer leagues have torn ACLs, according to reporting from the Washington Post.

Kerr will be “assessed by a specialist” in the following days before beginning rehabilitation with Chelsea’s medical team.