Canterbury United can rack up their 100th national league regular season win on Sunday when they play Hawke’s Bay United. If they achieve the milestone their will be one player still in the squad from their first league victory 14 years ago. Gordon Findlater reports
Dan Terris has been part of every Canterbury United campaign since the national league was reformed in 2004. He was part of the team’s first victory in a squad that featured the likes of All Whites Ben Sigmund and Jeremy Brockie.
After moving to Nelson 14 year ago to spend six months visiting his uncle, playing some football for Nelson Suburbs and travelling the country, there was no reason to suggest the now 37-year-old would go on to play more than 160 games for Canterbury – more than any other player – including many as captain.
After helping Nelson Suburbs to the Mainland Premier League title in 2004, Terris was asked to come to Christchurch for Canterbury’s national league season.
“I only expected to be here for six months to have a look around,” said Terris.
“I was asked to come down to Canterbury and I thought it was a good opportunity. It was more just enjoy the season and see what happens, but I’ve been here ever since.”
“I moved in with Ben Sigmund at the time for a couple of months before I got myself on my feet.”
Terris grew up in London and as a teenager was part of West Ham United’s youth set up for four years at the same time as the likes of John Terry, Joe Cole, Paul Konchesky and Bobby Zamora.
He then joined Southend United in Essex where he was coached by Peter Taylor, who also managed England for a short period in 2000. However, Terris ran into cartilage issues with his knees, which caused him to miss two years of football. “I had so long out of the game, I didn’t really think I could make it anymore.”
After studying marketing at university, Terris returned to play non-league football in England before he moved to New Zealand.
There have been a number of highlights for Canterbury United and Terris over the years, including two grand-final appearances in 2006 and 2010. Canterbury’s second season in the league is one of many fond memories for Terris.
“We ended up making the final that year, where we lost to Auckland City on penalties. There was a couple of games in that season that really put us on the map. We went to Auckland and beat Auckland City 3-2, and they were the dominating team in the competition. We sort of opened the eyes to a lot of teams in the league at that stage to suggest we were someone to be reckoned with.”
From being one of the first names on the team sheet, to having an important squad role in recent years, Terris has remained competitive right through his mid and late-30s.
“I’m still enthusiastic about the game and love playing it enough to make me want to go through the pain barrier a little bit. It would be good to win something with Canterbury.”
“I just enjoy being part of the team and representing the region.”
Canterbury are currently on their best unbeaten run in the league with eight consecutive victories. They began this season’s campaign with a 1-0 win over Southern United at the weekend courtesy of a 36th-minute goal from wing-back Sean Liddicoat.
•Sunday’s match against Hawke’s Bay in Napier kicks off at 1pm.
Canterbury United league record 2004- current
•235 league games
•99 wins, 42 draws and 94 losses
•388 goals scored
•339 goals conceded