Soccer-Australia's Kerr signs contract extension with Chelsea

Soccer Football - Women’s Champions League - Group D - Chelsea v Paris FC - Stamford Bridge, London, Britain - November 23, 2023 Chelsea's Sam Kerr reacts Action Images via Reuters/Matthew Childs

(Reuters) - Chelsea forward Sam Kerr has signed a contract extension until 2026, the Women's Super League (WSL) champions said on Thursday.

Kerr, Australia's all-time top scorer with 69 goals in 128 appearances, has been sidelined since suffering an anterior cruciate ligament injury at Chelsea training in January.

"I'm really excited to continue to push and to try to win trophies for Chelsea," Kerr, whose contract was set to expire this year, said in a statement.

The 30-year-old has scored 99 goals in 128 matches for the London side since joining in the 2019-20 season.

During her time at Chelsea she has won the WSL five times, as well as three FA Cups and two League Cups.

The forward will lead Chelsea into a new era next season without coach Emma Hayes, who left the English club after nearly 12 years at the helm to become the head coach of the U.S. women's national team.

Chelsea have appointed Sonia Bompastor as their new head coach on a four-year contract.

"After four years, it's really hard to sum up how I feel," Kerr added in a video posted on Chelsea's social media.

"My time at Chelsea has been unforgettable, lots of great memories made, lifelong dreams, winning trophies. To the fans, just remember that I will always be Chelsea. I hope you welcome Sonia with open arms and keep supporting the girls."

The Matildas captain is set to face trial in Britain next year on a charge of racially aggravated harassment of a police officer in January 2023. She pleaded not guilty in March.

(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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