Australia captain Sam Kerr calls for better funding after historic World Cup performance

Australia superstar Sam Kerr leads out Australia before its Women's World Cup semifinal match against England in Sydney.
CNN  — 

Australia may have had its dream of Women’s World Cup glory end on Wednesday following a 3-1 defeat to England, but that did not stop captain Sam Kerr from calling for more soccer funding in the country as it looks to take advantage of the boom in interest in the sport following the tournament.

“We are there, we’re right there,” Kerr said to reporters in the immediate aftermath of the semifinal loss, according to Seven Network, a CNN affiliate. “I can only speak for the Matildas. We need funding in our development. We need funding in our grassroots. We need funding. We need funding everywhere.

“The comparison to other sports isn’t really good enough, and hopefully, this tournament kind of changes that because that’s the legacy you leave – not what you do on the pitch.

“The legacy is what you do off the pitch. And hopefully, I mean, it’s hard to talk about now, but hopefully, this is the start of something new,” Kerr added, according to Seven.

CNN has reached out to Football Australia who declined to comment but offered an interview opportunity at a future date. CNN has yet to receive a response from the Australian Sports Commission, the government agency responsible for supporting and investing in sport at all levels in the country.

The Australian women’s team made national history at the tournament, becoming the first team – men’s or women’s – to reach a soccer World Cup semifinal.

The impact of the Matildas’ run is evidenced by the record-breaking viewing figures shared by the Seven Network who broadcasted the co-host’s games in Australia. Seven said the semifinal’s audience reached 11.15 million in Australia, with a national average audience of 7.13 million.

Those figures make the game the most watched TV program since the inception of OzTAM, Australia’s audience measurement system, Seven added.