US National Women's Soccer League Most Valuable Player Samantha Kerr has also been named Asia's best.
US National Women's Soccer League Most Valuable Player Samantha Kerr has also been named Asia's best. TONY MCDONOUGH

Kerr named player of year in Asia

SAMANTHA Kerr has been named the 2017 Asian Football Confederation Player of the Year at a gala ceremony in Thailand, becoming the third Australian recipient of the award in four years.

She claimed the award ahead of Japan's Saki Kumagai, who helped Lyon to a second straight UEFA Champions League title in June, and North Korean teenager Sung Hyang Sim.

Kerr follows in the footsteps of Matildas teammates Katrina Gorry (2014) and Caitlin Foord (2016) in winning the honour.

"It's been a bit of a crazy year but I just want to say thank you to every one of my support staff that helped me throughout this year. They know who they are,” Kerr said.

Kerr's achievements include scoring a record 17 goals in the US National Women's Soccer League and becoming only the second non-American to be named the competition's Most Valuable Player.

She has also spearheaded the Matildas' surge to sixth in the FIFA world rankings, netting 11 goals in her past six appearances at international level.

Kerr scored a brace in the second of the Matildas' two friendly wins over China, earning praise from coach Alen Stajcic for her composure in dealing with the increased attention.

"She's a true professional. I think she showed that with the amount of attention she's had over the last three or four months,” Stajcic said.

"It's really gone from zero to a hundred in terms of how much publicity and recognition she's had in the media.

"To still come out and be able to perform just shows how much she's matured as a person. She's really becoming one of the superstars of Australian sport.”

- Fox Sports



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