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Crowley's Glad She Was Pushed to Play Soccer : Mother Knew Best

December 21, 1987|BARBIE LUDOVISE | Times Staff Writer

Somewhere amid modeling, ballet, calligraphy, softball, piano, typing, tap dance, jazz, creative writing, golf, candy striping, choir, computer, cooking and religion classes, Lara Crowley finally found something she enjoyed.

Soccer.

Though not at first.

"It was just another one of those (activities) that my mother snuck me into without asking me," said Crowley, a junior at La Quinta High School.

Kathy Crowley, Lara's mother, said she was just trying to keep her daughter busy.

"I just think kids should always be doing things," she said. "I don't like to see them just sit around and watch TV.

"My husband and I have always been athletic, so we probably pushed her into it a little. She'll probably do the same thing to her daughter some day."

Said Lara: "She was always signing me up for things I didn't want to do. I was only 6 or 7, but she was sort of obsessed that I didn't turn into a couch potato."

Mrs. Crowley, put away the sour cream and chives. Your daughter has finally found her favorite pastime.

"I'm glad she made me play now," Crowley said. "I hated it at first. But then things started to go really well."

As they are still.

In six games, Crowley, a left-footed left wing, has scored four goals and assisted on five others for La Quinta's 5-1 soccer team.

As a left wing, Crowley's task is similar to that of a point guard in basketball--setting up plays and providing assists.

Last season, Crowley provided the majority of assists to former Aztec star Kristin Harkins. Harkins, now at Cal Poly Pomona, set an Orange County career scoring record of 136 goals, 35 last season.

But now Crowley is making a name for herself. Especially with the help of her best weapon--a powerful left leg.

"Lara was sort of famous (in the soccer community) around here when she was 7," said Kathy Crowley. "Not many kids--boys or girls--could kick that hard, or with such conviction."

According to La Quinta Coach Bill Wilson, the combination of strength and the accuracy makes her a threat to any defense.

Especially on corner kicks, Crowley's specialty.

"Lara's ability to put the ball in the target area is deadly," Wilson said.

"From the right side (on corner kicks), her left foot hooks the ball in. All a player's got to do is tap it right in.

Or, Crowley can kick it in on her own. Which is not very common, but Crowley has managed it several times in her career.

Last week, Crowley lofted a high, hard corner kick through a goalie's hands for the winning goal in the Aztecs' 1-0 victory over Valencia.

She did the same thing five years ago in the Southern California youth soccer championships in the Rose Bowl, leading her team--the Shooting Stars--to the Southern California title.

It was at that time, Crowley said, that she knew she--or her mom--had made the right choice.

"That was my real start," Crowley said. "Here I was, just a little kid playing soccer in the Rose Bowl. And we watched us on TV (on a local cable station) after the game. I think I knew then I would stay in soccer for a while."

And of future Crowley generations?

"I want to play until I have my own kids," Crowley said. "Then I'm going to coach them. I don't think I'd force them to play, but I'm going to get them into it as soon as they'll let me."

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