Sept. 23, 2011
In the summer of 2009, Auburn junior midfielder Ana Cate did what most soccer players dream of doing, playing on a national team. Cate played two games with the Nicaraguan national team for two exhibition matches before she suffered an injury. The Lithie, Fla., native relished in the fact that she was able to play in front of her mother's family, who live in Nicaragua.
"It was awesome. I can't even put it into words," Cate said. "When the national anthem was playing before we played, it really hit me. Being able to play in front of my grandparents and my mom's family was really special."
Although Cate is from the United States, her mom is a Nicaragua native, which allows her to play for the national team. Her mother came to the United States for college, and was the only one from her family to stay in the country.
"My mom was born down there, and all of her family is still there," Cate stated. "She is the only one to stay in the United States. All of her siblings went to college here and then left."
This past summer Cate was able to go back to Nicaragua, but this time wasn't for the national team. She, Katy Frierson, Amy Howard, Lydia Townsend and Maddie Barnes traveled with the non-profit organization, Soccer Without Borders. The group stayed in Nicaragua for a week traveling to many different parts of the country.
"We went to a lot of the rural areas," Cate said of her trip. "We got to play soccer with them, as well as just hang out with them. It was really cool to see how much they appreciated everything. They were so purely happy that we were there. A few of us are trying to go over to either Africa or Argentina with them over winter break."
However, when Cate isn't making an impact in different countries, she can be seen making an impact in the classroom. Before her days at Auburn, she was named the 2009 Hillsborough County Pepsi Scholar-Athlete, and was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll last year. The exercise science major says that her parents have taught her that if she wants to really get where she wants to go, she has to get a degree, and that was a major influence on her decision to become a Tiger.
"Academics is really important," Cate claimed. "My parents have always taught me that soccer is one thing, but school is really going to get you where you want to go. At the end of the day, people don't really care that you play soccer, they care that you got a degree."
After she graduates, Cate hopes to one day be a nurse or become a coach. Her love for the game has made it hard for her to give it up.
"I am taking all the prerequisites for nursing, but if that doesn't work out, I want to become a coach," Cate said. "I want to stay involved in soccer and athletics. I'm not sure if I am ready to give that up yet. I think I know a lot about the game, and I have had many different experiences. I have been able to play in different places, and I would really like to pass on the good coaching that I have had that got me to where I am now."
by Evan Roberts, Auburn Media Relations
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