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United import heads finals push

Date

Jon Tuxworth

New Canberra United player Kristen Mewis.

New Canberra United player Kristen Mewis. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

She forfeited New Year's Eve celebrations at home on Monday but Canberra United's latest American recruit, Kristen Mewis, is focused on ensuring her new club doesn't miss out on the W-League finals party.

The attacking midfielder arrived in the capital on Monday morning as a timely replacement for injured Matildas star Sally Shipard, who is out for the remainder of the campaign with a knee injury.

Canberra United is fast forming an unofficial sister relationship with Boston. Boston Breaker Taryn Hemmings featured in its undefeated 2011-12 season, while 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 a daunting prospect for a player in a new country and league.

But Mewis, expected to be available for the Wanderers clash, isn't fazed by the expectation to find her feet immediately.

She said missing New Year's Eve was an easy sacrifice to make as she looks to kick-start her post-college career on the other side of the world.

''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 is tipped to be one of the first players chosen in the Women's Premier League soccer draft at Indianapolis on January 18 and strong performances in Canberra would strengthen her chances.

''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.''

SATURDAY

W-League round 11: Canberra United v Western Sydney at McKellar Park, 2pm.

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