‘Is this really for me?’: Sam Kerr’s jersey gift ignites football fan’s dreams

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In the ecstatic post-triumph minutes inside Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night, cameras tracking Sam Kerr to the heaving, golden stands captured a young face and a precious exchange emblematic of a rolling national movement and all that is wonderful about sport.

The face belonged to young Zara Borcak, a striker for Brisbane’s Old Bridge FC under-10 girls. The exchange was the gift of Kerr’s match-worn jersey, complete with grass stains, sweat and dreams.

Zara Borcak at Old Bridge FC with the jersey given to her by Sam Kerr at the Australia vs France match in Brisbane on Saturday.Credit: Glenn Hunt

The footage shows a screaming Zara receiving the kit – and a hug – from the superstar herself, then turning back to her euphoric family clutching and shaking her prize in stunned disbelief.

By Sunday afternoon, the clip posted to Facebook by Optus Sport had received more than 110,000 views.

“When she [Kerr] was talking to her coach, we were just screaming to her. And then she was looking towards everyone in the crowd for who to give it to,” the still-giddy nine-year-old said from the rooms of Old Bridge.

The pair locked eyes, “and she just gave it to me. I said ‘thank you’ and she said ‘you’re welcome’, and I was very excited.”

With such adrenalin, and a video to watch on repeat, the family didn’t get to bed until well after midnight, mum Selma said.

“She knows that she was the lucky girl,” Selma said. “She was excited to share it with her friends. And she just sat in the corner going through that video. Her [older] sisters were probably even more excited, if that’s possible.”

The prize spent its first night in the Borcak household neatly tucked within arm’s reach beside Zara’s bed. Naturally, it was the first thing she reached for in the morning.

“I thought that I had just imagined it,” Zara said. “I was like, ‘Is this really for me? Did I just meet Sam Kerr?’ But I really did.”

The jersey most certainly won’t be washed, she said. Neither will it ever be sold. Her hope is for Kerr to sign it and to then have it framed.

The touching moment was an exemplar of the power of the Matildas’ achievement, not only among the girls of Zara’s generation.

Similar strains of joy inspired by our victorious heroes echoed millions of times over in pubs, homes and live sites across the nation. Zara’s excitement was Australia’s.

“That game, regardless of what nationality or if you were male, female, whatever, we were all one, and that’s what we need,” Selma said.

“As a kid, football was the big thing. But it was always a male thing.

Zara, wearing Sam Kerr’s jersey, dreams of emulating her hero and playing as a striker for the Matildas.Credit: Glenn Hunt

“This is a next level for us girls to show that we are equal, that we can play, and we can achieve as well.”

Zara dreams to one day emulate her hero, Kerr, and play football for her country.

She already has 16 goals for Old Bridge this season. With four games left in the season and her Matildas for inspiration, she’s plotting to crack 30.

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