Big games then big move for Wall

Southern United’s Lara Wall has a kick around at Tonga Park after school on Thursday as she...
Southern United’s Lara Wall has a kick around at Tonga Park after school on Thursday as she prepares for two games against Canterbury United this weekend. Photo; Peter McIntosh
Lara Wall is taking a trip to her future home — although she will not necessarily be playing against her future team.

The 18-year-old will be Christchurch-bound in February; she is moving north to complete an engineering degree at the University of Canterbury.

She will get a taste of football in the city today, as Southern United plays Canterbury United in the national women’s league.

On Monday they will meet again at Tahuna Park.

It is a tough ask.

Canterbury is unbeaten, having scored 19 goals while conceding just one.

However, despite that success and her shift north, Wall was not sure about wearing red and black next year.

"I’m actually considering moving back down here for the Southern season, just because I like the team so much," she said.

"I definitely want to try to play for them, but we’ll see what happens."

It has been a big past 12 months for Wall, and it began in Christchurch last year.

She had been in the team for three years when she was handed her first start last year, and immediately made it count.

As a 17-year-old she scored two exceptional goals to help Southern beat the defending champion 2-1 on its home patch.

It was something of a breakout game for Wall, who still cannot quite believe how well it went.

"I didn’t really think too much about what was actually happening, I kind of just did it.

"Then after the game I thought ‘wow, did that really just happen?’"

The performance propelled her into the side’s starting line-up, and her star began to rise.

She has shown herself to be a constant threat with the ball, using her pace to beat defenders and attack dangerously.

That made her a key figure in Dunedin Technical’s Kate Sheppard Cup win, scoring a goal in the 4-1 victory over Forrest Hill Milford in the final.

She player-coached her Queen’s High School team alongside Tech and Southern teammate Zoe Thomas.

It was something she enjoyed doing, although admitted it left her busy.

She had been on the fringe of the New Zealand under-20 set-up too, having been named as a stand-by player to go to a camp.

At 18 she has another cycle left to make that team, and while it would be amazing, it was not a focus.

Indeed her final school exams are more of a focus right now, as was this weekend’s doubleheader.

Southern is coming off a bye, although has been more than competitive in the opening rounds.

It claimed handy wins over WaiBOP and Central, scoring six goals in each game, as well as a scoreless draw against Northern in Auckland.

Auckland gave it its only loss, scoring a goal in the last minute to snatch a 2-1 victory.

That leaves Southern tied with Capital on seven points in fourth place, although it has a game in hand.

Canterbury leads the way with a perfect 12 points, and will take some beating.

 

National women’s league
Southern Utd v Canterbury Utd

Today:  1pm, English Park

Monday:  2pm, Tahuna Park

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