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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Arizona soccer freshman Hannah Wong brings international flare to team

Arizona soccer freshman Hannah Wong brings international flare to team
J&L PHOTOGRAPHY

Forward Hannah Wong is only a freshman on the Arizona soccer team, but she’s already making a big impression.

“She plays the game very well and very clean,” head coach Lisa Oyen said. “I’ve had several people come up to me after the game asking, ‘Who is your number seven?’ ‘Where did you find her, because that kid is going to be unbelievable,’ and we agree.”

Hailing from New Zealand, Wong began playing soccer with friends through her school team at age nine. Ironically, playing as a forward was not something she sought out.

“It kind of just happened,” Wong said. “The teams I played for always put me in the position of forward, so I just stuck with it.”

As a sophomore in high school, Wong’s team won the title of National Secondary School in 2009, which is a national championship in New Zealand.

“It was awesome because we went into penalty kicks in the finals and we won on the last shot,” Wong said. “It was just an overwhelming experience.”

In her junior year, Wong was invited to join the under-17 New Zealand national team for the 2010 World Cup in Trinidad and Tobago.

The World Cup qualifiers were in New Zealand and the team came out as the champion with three shutout performances against the Solomon Islands (10-0), Papua New Guinea (9-0) and Tonga (18-0).

Wong played in the first and last games of the qualifiers, scoring two goals and eight goals, respectively. She was the leading scorer for the tournament.

Even though the under-17 New Zealand national team lost all three games of group play in the 2010 World Cup, Wong clocked in 134 minutes and started in the game against Japan.“It’s an indescribable feeling to be able to play for New Zealand,” Wong said. “All your hard work pays off and getting to play in such a high level of competition is pretty cool. The best part is standing at the beginning when we are lined up next to teammates, listening to the national anthem and wearing the colors proudly.”

By her senior year, Wong knew she wanted to play in the U.S., so she began researching schools.

“I got in contact with the coaches here [at Arizona],” Wong said.

“I liked the campus and the team because the girls were really nice. Also the soccer team is in a good conference, which was something I was looking for.”

As a Wildcat, Wong has made her mark in just seven games, dishing out a team-best three assists and making eight shots on goal — good for second on the team.

“She brings a lot of creativity to the team because she sees the game different than most people do,” junior forward/midfielder Jazmin Ponce said. “She’s on another level because she can read players well and is able to switch the dynamic of her game.”

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