A Wanderer in Harvard

This time last year Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Elizabeth Durack had just commenced year 12, was playing football in the NSW Premier League and the prospect of being accepted into one of the top Universities in the world appeared somewhat unlikely.

This time last year Western Sydney Wanderers goalkeeper Elizabeth Durack had just commenced year 12, was playing football in the NSW Premier League and the prospect of being accepted into one of the top Universities in the world appeared somewhat unlikely.

Fast-forward the clock, and 18-year-old Durack has been notified that she has been accepted into Harvard University-s elite soccer program, was named a HSC Distinguished Achiever for attaining a band 6 in Advanced English, Latin, Extension Latin and Mathematics and is a member of the Wanderers W-league squad in its inaugural season.

The Sydney Girls High student says that she always hoped that one day she would have the opportunity to play in the W-League, and the establishment of a new team based in Sydney finally provided her with that chance.

“The experience has been amazing so far,” says Durack.

“Although it has taken some adjusting, with training being much more professional and the games being played at a much faster pace - it has been a lot of fun. It is a privilege to play with some of these players.”

It has been a fast learning curve for Durack to see the attitude and professionalism shown by one of Europe-s finest keepers - Thora Helgadottir.

Durack is understudy to Icelandic national goalkeeper Helgadottir, who was recently awarded the title of Iceland-s Player of the Year.

“Training with Thora has been amazing - she is considered to be one of the best keepers in the world and it is a privilege to train with her - I have learnt so much already,” says Durack.

“Being captained by Sarah Walsh, one of the most recognised players in Australia, is also remarkable.”

Durack says that it has been at times very difficult to effectively balance school, her study and college applications with training commitments, but she is very grateful for the support that her teachers, family, friends and coaches have provided her with.

“I was very lucky to have had a lot of help from my teachers and all the Wanderers coaching staff - when it came to HSC I would be allowed one night off training,” she says.

Durack says that the she had always found the idea of attending one of the top Universities in the world an alluring prospect, but it was only when she completed the application form that she realised it was all coming to fruition.

“I thought it would be a huge achievement and honour to attend one of the best Universities in the world,” she says.

“Then I sat my SAT test, filled out my application forms and was so happy when I received my acceptance letter.”

Durack says that she will miss her family and friends but is willing to make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“I am really looking forward to starting something new - I will miss everyone but I am ready for a new challenge and a new environment where I can improve my fitness and strength,” says Durack.

“Achieving something academically is high on my priorities, but if I can excel in both areas, that is fantastic.”