Having added Pac-12 legend Rachael Doyle to their coaching staff just a few months ago, Oregon have now added an Australian to their playing roster for 2021, with former Adelaide United midfielder Lara Kirkby committing to the Ducks. Kirkby is set to become the fourth Aussie in the Pac-12, joining Stanford’s Amy Sayer, Washington State’s Aly Hay, and USC’s Talia Grossman.
A product of the Football South Australia NTC program, Kirkby made 39 NPL appearances for the team across the 2018 and 2019 seasons, scoring four goals in the process. In the interim, Kirkby was a member of Adelaide United’s squad for the 2018/19 W-League squad, making her debut when she came on for Matildas legend Michelle Heyman against Brisbane Roar. The midfielder would make a second appearance later in the season, once again coming off the bench against Western Sydney Wanderers.
Kirkby moved to West Adelaide for the 2020 NPL season, and at this point has appeared in all 13 games for the Kilburn-based club as they sit in 2nd position, tallying two goals in the process. Whilst at West Adelaide, Kirkby has also played alongside former Massachusetts midfielder Laura Johns, who carved out a successful college career of her own.
For all their recent success in women’s basketball, Oregon haven’t had the same fortune in women’s soccer. The Ducks have struggled in the Pac-12 in recent seasons, losing at least 8 of their 11 games in each of the past five seasons. However, in bringing former US women’s national team assistant and two-time Women’s World Cup winner Graeme Abel on as head coach, the Ducks are clearly set on making a bigger impact in the nation’s premier conference. What Kirkby’s role in these plans becomes remains to be seen, but there is no doubting that this is a massive opportunity for the young South Australian starlet.