WEEK #13: KATRINA G.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I started playing soccer at the age of 4. I grew up playing multiple sports such as soccer, basketball, volleyball, track and field, and cross-country. Around the age of 12, I decided to direct my focus solely into soccer. At an early age, my main goal was always to earn an NCAA soccer scholarship to a US university/college and eventually to play professionally. For the first two years of my university career I attended Davis and Elkins College. Some of my greatest memories were shared at this small liberal arts college in the hills of West Virginia. After two years. I decided to return home to play and complete my degree at Western University. Coming home gave me the opportunity to regain the passion for the game I had lost over the years and for that I am forever grateful to all my coaches and teammates at Western. Some of the honours and accomplishments I have received included being named freshman of the year for my school and conference, GMAC offensive player of the year, NCAA D2 HERO SPORTS newcomer of the year, first-team all conference and all-region selection for both years, named a NCAA D2CCA first team All-American, statistical champion in NCAA D2 for total points (3.89) and goals per game (1.61), and breaking numerous records including most goals scored in a single season (29 goals) in the GMAC. My favourite memories above all include winning the conference championship in 2016 and getting a bid into the NCAA tournament with D&E and qualifying for the U-SPORTS Women’s National Championships in Ottawa during my final year at Western. I could not be more thankful for all the teammates and coaches I have met along this journey. After graduating in 2019, I signed my first professional contract in the Austrian Bundesliga for 6 months. Currently, I am playing for ZNK Olympija in Slovenia until the start of June.
What is the best advice you’ve received as an athlete?
The best advice I have received as an athlete is to always believe in yourself and work hard to achieve your goals. I have had a lot of ups and downs through out my playing career that have shaped me into the player I am today. It is important to understand that achieving a goal takes hours and hours of hard work both on and off the field. It means doing the little things like extra workouts and touches outside of training that will set you apart from the rest. It’s about surrounding yourself with a strong support system that believes in you and your goals.
What would you tell a girl who is thinking of dropping out of sport?
I would tell them the most important thing is to really take a moment to consider why they are feeling this way. I get it. I have been there so many times, where I have wanted to quit because of something a coach said, because it was too hard, or because I just didn’t feel like I was good enough. However, I have learned to never let one negative coach or comment dictate your future and passion for the sport you love. As an athlete, you are the only one who defines how and if you will be successful. There are going to be coaches and individuals along the way who are going to want to tear you down and tell you that you are not good enough. It is how you respond and react to these comments that will make you into a stronger athlete and person. So, thinking of dropping out of a sport should never be decided by what someone else has said to you, but be a thought that you will experience at any given point in your athletic career, and overcome to prove those individuals wrong.
What advice do you have for parents, coaches or sport administrators to encourage or improve sport for females?
My advice to parents would be to let your children decide what and how they want to utilize sports in their life. If a child wants to work hard and achieve their goals, that motivation to push themselves can only come from them. Don’t push your children too hard. Support them and their goals no matter how crazy they may seem. I would never be where I am today if it wasn’t for the support my parents have given me over the years. They never pushed me too hard. It was always my decision whether I wanted to put in the extra work to make my dreams a reality. They have always instilled a confidence in me that I had honestly completely lost at one point in my playing career, and without their constant support I probably wouldn’t be playing anymore.
What is a quote that motivates you?