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Caroline Bado plays 'massive role' as Auburn soccer begins NCAA Tournament
Graduate transfer Carolina Bado quickly assimilated into Auburn's soccer program, earning first team All-SEC honors. Photo: Dakota Sumpter/Auburn Athletics
Nov. 9, 2017

By Jeff Shearer
AuburnTigers.com

AUBURN, Ala. - Caroline Bado first toured Auburn as a high school sophomore when she traveled from Tampa, Florida, to Montgomery for Thanksgiving with her grandparents.

“A few years later, I end up here,” says Bado, a first-team All-SEC defender on Auburn’s soccer team. “It’s just kind of funny.”

Seven years passed between Bado’s Auburn visits. During that time, she graduated high school and played three seasons at Central Florida. This fall, she became the first graduate transfer in Coach Karen Hoppa’s two decades at Auburn.

“Once I came back here again, I remembered all of the things I saw in the beginning,” Bado says. “I really kind of fell in love with it and have continued to fall in love with it the whole time I’ve been here.”

Bado will lead Auburn’s defense against Hofstra Friday at 5 p.m. in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the Auburn Soccer Complex.

“She’s played a massive role this season,” Hoppa says. “She’s been the leader of our back line. And it’s been a back line that no one has ever played together before, and that’s really hard. It’s like an offensive line, you need that chemistry between those back four. And I think one of the reasons they’ve done so well is they have that senior leadership in her.”

Arriving in May, soon after graduating from UCF, Bado blended in quickly with her new teammates.

“You come in hoping that you can easily fit with the team,” Bado says. “It was big that I got to come in this summer and build relationships with a smaller group of the girls. Once everyone came in for preseason, I had the connection and I could build the connection with the other girls.”

 

 

“By the time we started preseason, she was fully integrated in the team,” Hoppa says. “You would have thought she’d been here four years. She’s really fit right in, hasn’t missed a beat, just melded right into our team chemistry, which is just really a credit to the person that she is and to the team accepting her so quickly.”

“It was a lot easier process than most would think,” Bado says. “The girls made it a lot easier, just being very welcoming and wanting for me to be around and connecting with me.”

“Caroline has been a rock back there in our defense,” says fellow All-SEC first-teamer Kristen Dodson. “She’s been a great leader, and she’s been a great addition to this program.”

“We couldn’t have asked for more from her this season,” says senior Courtney Schell. “She’s been a leader, on and off the field, showing what she has. Always working hard, giving her heart and soul to this team.”

While working on her master’s in adult education, Bado enjoys living in Auburn.

“I’ve loved it,” she says. “I’ve loved living in a small town. You walk down the street, and everyone is ‘War Eagle,’ or someone will come up to you and ask, ‘Oh you’re on the soccer team?’ and want to have a conversation with you. I love that aspect about it. I was really grateful to be able to experience that for at least a year.”

When deciding to attend Auburn, Bado discovered a common bond with her future head coach. They’re both UCF graduates.

“I ended up looking up her bio, and it’s UCF,” Bado says. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, wow. What a coincidence.’”

“She’s played against some of my former teammates in alumni games,” says Hoppa. “We laughed and said next year we need to go to the alumni game together.”

Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter:

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