As Canberra United fight to stay in the top four in the W-League, local star Lauren Keir is fighting for more game time after the girls took home all three points from Adelaide on Sunday (22 December).
In a physical game that saw United go down to 10 and then nine players at times due to injuries, a fresh-legged Keir came on for captain Nikola Orgill in the 9th minute and the Canberrans hung on, despite a last-minute consolation goal to Adelaide. The final score was 2-1.
While she hasn’t been in a regular starting position this year, Keir is coming off the back of an amazing season with Belconnen United in the Women’s National Premier League.
We stay undefeated on the road thanks to goals from Leena Khamis and Hayley Taylor-Young! ???
— Canberra United (@CanberraUnited) December 22, 2019
Captaining the team through an undefeated season, and securing the minor premiership and title, Keir said she is feeling much better about stepping up to the W-League this season.
“I am a lot more confident this year than I was last year in my rookie year,” she told Region Media.
“It is great to see [Belconnen teammate] Jessie [Rasschaert] here with me and it was good that I brought that confidence to Canberra United this season.”
Rasschaert boosted United’s defensive line this week along with American Kaleigh Kurtz, drawing praise from coach Heather Garriock for their performance. Keir says it’s performances like this from defenders like Kurtz that she draws inspiration from.
“I probably learn the most from KK as she’s in my position,” she said. “We had a discussion about the backline and what we need to do and what not to do. I get some feedback from her a fair bit.
“I just really admire internationals in the forward line like Simone [Charley]. Her skills and running with the ball are incredible. She does inspire me.”
Drawing inspiration from her Canberra United teammates is one thing, but inspiration from her family wasn’t hard to come by, growing up in an exceptionally talented sporting environment.
Her dad, Steve, played for the Raiders, Eastern Suburbs Roosters and North Sydney Bears in the 1980s, while mum, Dianne, represented the ACT in hockey. Older sister Ashley is on her way to becoming a tennis pro and younger brother Dan plays for the Raiders’ Canterbury Cup team, the Mounties.
“It was a really competitive atmosphere and it still is,” Dan told Region Media, so much so that Lauren and Dan still compare beep test results.
Despite the sibling rivalry, Lauren says she had a lot of support.
“If my sister was in soccer and I was competing at the same level as her, I reckon it would have been pretty competitive, but because we are in different sports it is still competitive but we support each other a lot.”
However, still living at home, Dan says there is one thing Lauren is undeniably better at: being the favourite child.
“[Lauren] is gluten-free and she isn’t even at home and mum is still making us all go gluten-free,” he said before Lauren quickly interjected.
“No joke, mum trialed cauliflower and broccoli gluten-free cheese sauce and didn’t tell Dan it was gluten-free, and then told him after because he keeps complaining,” she said.
“I’m getting stitched up so I have started eating out more often,” Dan replied.
Family banter like this that highlights the closeness of the Keir family as they both look forward to a big 2020.
For Dan, that means the Green Machine.
“The dream is to play for the Raiders. To play first grade. But I’ll take whatever opportunity that comes. The Raiders have been good to me so I’ll stick with it and see what happens,” Dan said.
“I am hoping to get a top 30 contract in the New Year.”
Meanwhile, Lauren is focusing her energy on the Boxing Day clash against Western Sydney Wanderers, who sit above United on the ladder.
“It is a short turnaround after Adelaide. We got back on Monday, and then have a training session, then it’s Christmas Day and we play Boxing Day,” she said.
— Canberra United (@CanberraUnited) December 23, 2019
“We just need to focus on each game, fix up the little thing, really work on them and take one game at a time.
“The Wanderers’ forward line is very, very good. They are good on goal as well so we need to close them down and be strong out the back but we are prepared for it. We have been training really hard, and I think we can give them a good go.”
Canberra United will take on the Western Sydney Wanderers at McKellar Park in Canberra at 7:30 pm on Thursday, 26 December. Tickets are available from the W-League.