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Sam Kerr leaves Chicago Red Stars for Chelsea

Kerr leaves the NWSL after playing in each of the league’s seven seasons.

Chicago Red Stars forward Sam Kerr celebrates after scoring a goal against Utah Royals FC on Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019, at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, Ill. (Credit: Chicago Red Stars/ISI Photos)

The long-lasting question about where Sam Kerr’s future will be has finally been answered, with the forward officially joining England’s Chelsea FC after a two-year stint with the Chicago Red Stars, it was announced Wednesday.

Kerr signed a two-and-a-half year deal with the FA Women’s Super League side, and will officially be eligible for selection in January when the mid-season transfer window opens.

I think Chelsea’s one of the biggest clubs in the world and once I had my mind set on Europe, it was an easy decision to choose Chelsea as a club,” Kerr said in a video shared by Chelsea on Instagram.

The Australian international has spent a year linked to a move away from the National Women’s Soccer League, where she had played since the league’s inaugural season in 2013. She paired time in the United States with stints in Australia’s W-League over the course of her 11-year career. Her first venture in Europe will mean she will be playing full-time for Chelsea. It was always the rumored destination for Kerr, and the news was made official Wednesday.

Kerr’s move is a sign of increased investment in women’s soccer across Europe in the last few years, and particularly after the 2017 UEFA Women’s Championship and the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup proved to be popular events across the continent. Though the NWSL made it possible for players like Kerr to receive better salaries when it updated its salary structure this month, the 26-year-old is expected to be paid better than she might have been in the U.S.

Kerr leaves the NWSL as the league’s reigning Most Valuable Player and Golden Boot winner, and is currently the all-time leader for goals scored with 69 goals in 109 games.

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