Canberra United bringing Boston down under
Current Boston Breaker Taryn Hemmings (pictured) played a major role in United's undefeated 2011-12 season. Photo: Lannon Harley
Canberra United is fast forming an unofficial sister relationship with Boston after luring American youngster Kristen Mewis for the remainder of the W-League season.
The attacking midfielder arrived in the capital this morning as a timely replacement for injured Matildas star Sally Shipard, out for the rest of the campaign with a knee injury.
Having recently graduated from Boston College as their leading goalscorer, the 21-year-old came close to selection in the USA Olympic squad which won gold at London last year.
Mewis is the third player with Boston ties to play for United, with current Boston Breaker Taryn Hemmings influential in the defending champions’ undefeated 2011-12 season.
Nikki Washington, who has returned home for family reasons after playing three games for Canberra as cover for the injured Ashleigh Sykes, also played briefly for the Breakers in 2011.
US Soccer Federation women’s development boss April Heinrichs is close friends with Canberra coach Jitka Klimkova, and endorsed Mewis as the ideal player to give the side an attacking boost.
United’s title defence is hanging in the balance, two points outside the top four with two regular season rounds remaining.
Saturday’s home clash against sixth-placed Western Sydney therefore shapes as a must-win, which could be daunting for a player in a new country and league.
Mewis is expected to be available for the Wanders clash, and declared she isn’t fazed by the expectation to find her feet immediately.
Her friends back home are preparing for New Year’s Eve celebrations this afternoon, but Mewis wants to get her hands dirty and help spark a Canberra finals charge.
‘‘I love it [the pressure], I’ve been in situations like this before, travelled everywhere with the youth national teams and been under all sorts of pressure,’’ she said on Monday.
‘‘Obviously this is new and my first professional encounter, I don’t know any of the girls, but I’ve been in this situation since I was 14, so I’ll be OK.
‘‘I’ve played with Nikki [Washington] who’s played on the east coast a lot in Boston and so has Taryn. It’s great to hear they’ve come down here and enjoyed it, and I’ll try and keep the whole Boston thing going.’’
Sykes (quad tear) is expected to be available this weekend, giving Klimkova a dilemma on where to play the pacy left-footer.
‘‘I can pretty much play anywhere on the left field, wherever they need me,’’ Mewis said.
‘‘I haven’t really established a specific position yet, I wander all over the place, but I think I can bring something to this team.’’
Mewis will miss New Year’s Eve celebrations in her homeland today, but she said it’s a small sacrifice to make as she looks to kickstart her professional career.
She is tipped to be one of the first players chosen in the Women’s Premier League Soccer Draft at Indianapolis on January 18.
‘‘I knew I had to do something in January. I thought I might be training on my own [in Boston], training with local players or a local boys team,’’ she said.
‘‘When I got the email from Heather [Reid, Capital Football chief executive] I thought I’ll miss New Year’s but that’s Ok, I’d rather go to Australia.
‘‘I’ve only heard great things about the team and I can’t wait to play with them.’’