It’s not every day you travel to South Korea. It’s also not every day you make history on their soccer fields.
This is the honour one former Red Deerian was given recently as she captained Team Canada at the World University Games held in Gwangju City, South Korea.
Heather Lund, 27, grew up in Red Deer where she began playing at an early age. Lund played major women’s Renegades soccer as well as on the Red Deer College soccer team before relocating to the University of Alberta to play for the Pandas where she became the teams’ all time leading scorer.
In 2013, the nationally distinguished athlete traveled to Kazan, Russia for her first shot at the World University Games where Lund and her team faced a disappointing loss to Japan 6-0.
Heading into the 2015 games Lund knew Team Canada had never placed higher than fifth place, and as her coach often said to her she was ready to ‘optimize the team’s potential’ heading into Gwangju.
“We went into the tournament thinking it would being amazing to win a medal but we just wanted to play as well as we could,” explained Lund who added the team’s fourth place finish in the 2015 made this the highest placing team at the games in Canadian history. “Playing on that team and representing Canada, we really did make history for our country.”
She explained one of the highlights from her playing time on the field of the games was her duo of goals against Team USA, which she said were ‘extra sweet’ considering who the game was against.
“We didn’t really get to Wang Ju; we didn’t really get to see a lot of the city,” said Lund on other highlights from the trip, “But afterwards I spent a few days in Seoul and it was so vibrant and neat to see that culture and see a country I probably never would have gone to otherwise.”
Up next for the Canadian and former Red Deer athlete will be the completion of her master’s degree in nursing. She hopes she can continue to play with her soccer team out of Edmonton where she currently resides.
“Soccer was always an afterthought for me with my education coming first – it was always kind of like if I played then I played,” she said.
“Then in my last couple years playing for U of A I really saw myself starting to come into my own as an athlete also and had a great couple of last years but now I’m at age where work may start to take priority.”