Sam Kerr has officially been ruled out of the 2024 Paris Olympics, with Football Australia confirming the star forward’s knee injury will keep her out of the Matildas squad for the Games.

Kerr’s Olympic hopes have been in severe doubt since she suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury in January, but the Matildas had previously kept open the possibility of the 30-year-old making an unlikely return for the Olympics.

However, the Matildas have now said Kerr’s injury would keep her out of the Games.

“We want Sam to be as fit and healthy as she can, and for her that’s taking her time with this injury. It’s a major injury,” veteran Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who will retire after Paris, said in Adelaide this morning.

“[Sam’s] in rehab right now and that’s the most important thing that she focuses on.

“The Matildas fever [means] that we all really support each other … [and] that’s what we’re doing now — supporting her in the best way that we can but making sure that the whole squad is in a good way going forward.”

Lydia Williams and Charli Grant in Adelaide for the unveiling of the Matildas squad for two friendlies against China.(ABC News: Camron Slessor)

Fellow World Cup star Katrina Gorry, who is recovering from an ankle injury, has also not been included in the squad for two pre-Olympic friendlies, but Football Australia said she would “most likely” be available for Olympic selection.

Kerr underwent surgery on her ACL earlier this year, and missed half the English Women’s Super League season, but still lifted the trophy when her side Chelsea was crowned champions for a fifth straight year on Sunday.

Kerr will be joined on the sidelines by attacking midfielder Amy Sayer, who has also been ruled out of the Paris Games because of an ACL injury.

The team news was announced as the Matildas unveiled their 23-player squad for upcoming matches against China, the first in Adelaide next week before a second game in Sydney.

The squad includes four goalkeepers, including Williams and World Cup regular Mackenzie Arnold.

Charli Grant and Lydia Williams are among the 23-person squad for the upcoming matches against China.(ABC News)

Head coach Tony Gustavsson said selection followed on from several player camps since last year’s World Cup, with performances to help inform the final squad for Paris.

“I think everyone can do the math here and understand that obviously, the Olympic roster will be based mostly out of those that are in this upcoming May/June camp,” he said.

“The squad we have named for this upcoming series against China … is based on their performances for their respective clubs and also in our national team environment.

“With the Olympics approaching, selection is about seeing the overall picture over four years of performance and assembling the best team possible.”

‘Play with a smile’

The Matildas will take on China at Adelaide Oval on Friday, May 31 and at Sydney Olympic Park on Monday, June 3.

The first of the two matches will be played at Adelaide Oval on Friday, May 31.(ABC News: Camron Slessor)

The second of the two matches will be the Matildas’ final game on home soil before Paris, and will also be an opportunity for fans to farewell Williams, who said she would likely have “tears rolling down my face” but would “go out the way that I want to”.

“I’m really excited, I’ve given a lot to the game and it’s important for me to leave it in a better position,” she said.

“The next couple of months, I get to play with a smile on my face.”

A crowd of 53,000 is expected at Adelaide Oval.(ABC News: Brendan Esposito)

Williams was joined in Adelaide on Tuesday morning by South Australian Matilda Charli Grant, who was relishing the prospect of playing on a home pitch.

“It gives me goosebumps thinking about it,” she said.

“We’re going to be playing in front of over 50,000 at Adelaide Oval so I think it’s huge for the women’s game, it’s really shown how much we’ve grown.

“I’m really proud of Adelaide for stepping forward.”

Matildas squad for China friendlies: Mackenzie Arnold, Ellie Carpenter (VC), Steph Catley (C), Kyra Cooney-Cross, Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Sharn Freier, Charlotte Grant, Winonah Heatley, Michelle Heyman, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Teagan Micah, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Hayley Raso, Kaitlyn Torpey, Emily Van Egmond (VC), Cortnee Vine, Clare Wheeler, Jada Whyman, Lydia Williams, Tameka Yallop.

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