‘I didn’t sleep’: Sam Kerr reveals stress of Chelsea’s WSL season

(Charlotte Tattersall - The FA/The FA via Getty Images)

Chelsea’s 2021-22 season was unlike any other for star Sam Kerr.

From the outside, it may have looked like business as usual for the Blues, who clinched their third-straight Women’s Super League title, but Kerr insists this campaign was different.

“It was a rollercoaster,” Kerr tells co-hosts Sam Mewis and Lynn Williams on the latest episode of Snacks. “We lost the first game of the season against Arsenal, and I think that from that moment on, I don’t know how, but we ran the whole season as the underdog because we were, like, chasing even though we had won the last few leagues. It was this weird situation we’d never really been in.”

Despite playing catch-up for most of their WSL campaign, Chelsea finished strong, putting an exclamation point on what Kerr admits was a “tough” year.

The typically calm Australian says she was so stressed toward the end of the season that, eventually, she had trouble eating and sleeping. Their  all came down to the final match, with the top of the table still in play down the stretch.

“The last three weeks of the season I didn’t sleep I was so stressed,” Kerr says. “When you really want something to go well, you’ve worked 10 months, and if you mess up, it can be gone like that.”

Chelsea’s season came down to the final match day against Manchester United. The Blues were neck-and-neck with rivals Arsenal all the way down the stretch of the season.

“I like don’t get stressed that often, but this year was so different, it meant so much, and when you have your rivals, like Arsenal, right there, I think it’s even worse,” she says. “We wanted to win, but we also didn’t want Arsenal to win even more. It was like this competitiveness.”

While the anxiety, at times, was a distraction, Kerr says there were points when it also fueled her. “I think I needed to be there. I just raged the last three weeks,” she explains.

The title-sealing match against Manchester United, however, was a different story for Kerr. The striker scored a second-half brace — including a stunning equalizer in the 46th minute — to lead Chelsea to a 4-2 win and the WSL crown. Kerr finished the season with a league-leading 20 goals, six ahead of Arsenal forward Vivianne Miedema.

“I feel like I played the game over in my head for like the first 45 minutes. I felt like I had played 120 minutes. I couldn’t run, I couldn’t move. I was shocked. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I am playing this game not to lose pretty much,’” Kerr said. “The few hours before the game I was so nervous — the most nervous I probably have ever been for a club match — and I let it get the better of me.”

Listen to the full conversation on the Snacks podcast for more on Kerr’s standout season with Chelsea.