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  • Writer's pictureChristian Marchetti

FIFA Museum honours Sam Kerr as a face of women's football ahead of World Cup

Matildas star Sam Kerr has been honoured as a role model of women's football in the FIFA Museum's "Calling the Shots: Faces of Women's Football" exhibition ahead of tomorrow night's 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup opener.

Located within the Sydney Fan Festival at Tumbalong Park, the exhibition will be open to fans throughout the Women's World Cup. (FIFA Museum)

Front Page Football gained access to the museum's official ribbon-cutting ceremony this morning, located within the Fan Festival in Sydney's Tumbalong Park.

The exhibition showcases some of the most important figures in women's football history, including Australia's Sam Kerr. There are also numerous historical items on display which fans can see up close once the museum opens to the public.

The exhibition is being presented in collaboration with the Hyundai Motor Company. Senior Vice President and Global Chief Marketing Officer Sungwon Jee said the company takes immense pride in its involvement in the project.

"We're so proud to take part in the history and the future stories of women's football. Everyone who is at this museum will be a witness of the progress of women's football," he said.

You certainly witness the progress of women's football upon walking around to the different sections. The exhibition celebrates the past 100 years, which has seen female players, coaches, and administrators fight for adequate recognition and attention. The FIFA Museum has developed an ideal place - within Australia's biggest city - where women's football fanatics can celebrate the history, iconic players and coaches, and seminal moments of the Women's World Cup whilst enjoying the 2023 edition.

The stories celebrated within the museum are divided into five sections, with Matildas star Kerr leading the 'Role Models' faction. Her wall features the quote, "I always try and make everyone feel welcome, and by being who I am, allow them to be who they are." An awesome quote from a superstar whose role model approach can be defined as leading through action, not words.

Kerr's section also includes the captain’s armband she wore at the 2019 edition in France, where she became, and still is, the only Australian to score a World Cup hat-trick. An interactive touch screen within the area gives fans more background behind Kerr, including another quote, "It's only a crazy dream until you do it." It's safe to say that any non-Australian women's football fans disputing Kerr's claim as arguably the world's best striker may be convinced otherwise by this exhibition.

Alongside Kerr, United States legend Megan Rapinoe, two-time World Cup champion and Olympic Gold medalist Brandi Chastain, legendary manager Jill Ellis, and five-time African Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala all have their dedicated walls. It's a particularly fitting tribute to Rapinoe, who is preparing for her final World Cup before retiring.

But back to an Australian perspective, there are a couple of other non-Kerr elements fans will appreciate. Sydney-based supporter group 'The Croissants', who made headlines in 2019 when they travelled to France to support the Matildas, have a small section too. One of the Steve Irwin-esque outfits they usually don is hung in the museum for all to see.

Away from the Matildas, it's pertinent to mention the representation of the Afghanistan women's national soccer team (AWT) in the exhibition, highlighted by their 2022 jersey being showcased to the public. The side has been playing matches in Victoria since leaving Afghanistan after the Taliban took back control of the country in 2021. The Australian connection to the AWT is further highlighted by how Aussies Craig Foster, Nikki Dryden, and Alison Battisson helped the side relocate to Australia.

Other fascinating aspects will entice women's football fans, such as the World Cup trophy from 1991 and 1995 and the 'Rainbow of Shirts' on the back wall, consisting of each nation’s home jersey for the 2023 edition.

The launch itself was a significant occasion, represented by legendary Germany goalkeeper Nadine Angerer taking part and answering a few questions in a brief Q&A. Angerer is most famous for being named Best Goalkeeper at the 2007 World Cup, as Germany triumphed without conceding a goal.

With this World Cup being seen as a potentially transformational moment for women's football and sport generally, Angerer was asked whether she felt the German national team had an extra social responsibility for the game at the 2007 edition. Her answer was intriguing.

"We wanted to play successfully to get attention. But as a player, you just in the first place, you want to win, you want to present yourself as a team on the highest point," Angerer said.

"So I think everything else comes later on. I think we really set the standard in Germany for the younger generation as well."

On this World Cup, Angerer again focused on the pitch.

"I'm really looking forward to this World Cup. I think the standard is pretty, pretty high," she said.

"I think it's going to be one of the best World Cups ever, maybe the best World Cup we've ever seen."

The gloves Angerer wore at the 2007 tournament are also on display in the exhibition, and she was in awe of the establishment.

"It looks amazing, and I can't wait to keep walking around and digging a little deeper and reading the history," she said.



Sam Kerr is one of five women's football icons recognised with a dedicated wall in the exhibition. (Girls on the Ball/Football Australia)

The FIFA Museum exhibition at Tumbalong Park will undoubtedly be a hub for women's football fans of all shapes and sizes to understand more about the game's history as it continues to work towards a promising future.

From an Australian perspective, one of the underrated elements of having this establishment down under is fans worldwide learning more about the history of the women's game in the country. Considering Kerr is prominently shown, it also presents opportunities to showcase what Australia has achieved and continues to accomplish in the game, possibly leading to greater attention and respect from global fans.

Amongst Australian fans, though, the discourse is strong about whether this tournament can be the springboard that propels the women's game towards further highs following its conclusion. Recognizing elements of its game within the exhibition is a small but potentially significant factor in helping that goal come to life.

Click here to read more FIFA Women's World Cup content, where FPF interviewed Australian referee Casey Reibelt ahead of the tournament!


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