Tal Karp. Photo courtesy Penny Tanner. HPC 16YO 1998

Tal

Karp

Player

Tal was born in Perth, Western Australia, into a Jewish family that totally supported her footballing passion. With little to no opportunities to play girls football in Perth at a young age, Tal mixed it with the boys in junior football at Perth Italia Soccer Club where she proved she was more than capable. This was despite the opportunity only falling her way due to insufficient numbers in her brothers team.

Tal never looked back from scoring the winning goal in her first match at Perth SC. Junior football at Perth Italia followed Tal right throughout her teens and ran parallel to her participation in women’s soccer. Tal was 11, when playing women’s soccer at Inglewood Kiev in 1993, under the tutelage of Western Australian Women’s State Team Captain, Penny Tanner, Tal returned to play as a senior footballer in the inaugural Perth SC women’s league team in 1994 and 1995. Not to be confused with the Perth Azzurri women when they first entertained crowds in 1958 at Dorrien Gardens in friendly matches (reference: City of Vincent Library).

She was 11 when selected to play 16s Junior State team for WA, 12 for the 19s WA State Team and 14 when selected to play for the open age Western Australian state womens soccer team in 1996. Also in 1996, turning 15, Tal received a scholarship into the inaugural Western Australian High Performance Centre (the forerunner to the modern day National Training Centre programme), developed by the WA Women’s Soccer Association. In 1997 at the Under 16 National Championships and School Girls national Championships, Tal was named ‘Most Valuable’ and ‘Fairest and Best’ for the competition. Selection in the Australian junior (16s) and youth (19s) teams completed Tal’s representation at all levels, between 1996 and 1998. In 1996 Tal was drafted into the inaugural National Womens Soccer League, playing for Canberra Eclipse, then Adelaide Sensation in South Australia (1997/98) and after moving to Canberra in 1998, returned to Canberra Eclipse for the 1999-2002 seasons, where she was also studying law. Karp was awarded the Julie Dolan Medal runner up in 2002. This award is polled from votes for players across Australia’s National League.

In 2003, Karp played for the Western Australian State Team which was a pilot year after the Open Age National Championships ended. The team was coached by Alistair Edwards, former Perth Glory legend, with the target of Perth being included in the 2004 National League. In 2004, Perth was invited to enter the Women’s National Soccer League. It competed as the Western Waves for one season and was coached by Alistair Edwards, with former Matildas Alumni, Tracey Wheeler as Goal Keeper Coach. Players in the team included Tanya Oxtoby, Collette McCallum, Nicola Williams, Luciana Colangelo (Di Ienno) and Stacey Woodfin (Learmont).

Recognising that women’s football had not yet reached full time status, Karp retired from soccer in 2005 to follow her legal career. This coincided with the termination of the NWSL and a huge review of football in Australia in which the name ‘soccer’ changed to ‘football’ and the national league re remerged as the W League in 2008. A final National League stint for Karp ended with her Captaining Melbourne Victory in 2008 through to 2010.

Karp has held roles in Melbourne on the Football Federation Victoria board and played in World Maccabi Games. In 2023 she held the Chair at Y Australia and advocates for women’s football in Australia.

Referenced from Tal herself, the West Australian newspaper articles and Penny Tanner’s football archive. Photo courtesy Penny Tanner 1998.