Here’s a bit about our centerback, #5 Katie Naughton:
Chicago Red Stars: How did you feel about being drafted in the 2016 NWSL College Draft?
Katie Naughton: “I was really excited to be drafted by Chicago because I grew up in the suburbs and basically my whole life is here. It was really nice to have the comfort of family and friends around me and I think that’s really helped me grow as a player.”
CRS: What were your thoughts on being a rookie in a veteran backline?
KN: “I think having Sam [Johnson] and Julie [Ertz] around me when I first got here was really great because they obviously had the experience of playing in this league and I was able to learn and grow and feed off of them. That definitely helped me develop as a player and a person.”
CRS: Can you walk us through your first professional goal?
KN: “My first goal happened a couple weeks ago; it was off a set piece. It was a great ball in by Danny [Colaprico]. I guess I just read it well and went up for it and saw it go in the back of the net. I was pretty excited. I started jumping and everything and all my teammates came around me and celebrated. It was really special.”
CRS: How is the Chicago backline this year?
KN: “Jule [Ertz], Casey [Short], Gilli (Arin Gilliland), Brooke [Elby]; they’re all exceptional. It brings out more confidence in each of us when we’re all allowed to play our best and feed off each other. We have started to really gel as a group and a unit these past few weeks and it’s really excited to see where that’s going to take us.”
CRS: How has the previous set-backs affected the team this year?
KN: “I think we have a really special team this year because we’ve actually gone through a lot of adversary at the beginning of the season. We were dealt a hand of injuries that was a tough obstacle to overcome. In the middle of the season, we had some trades that really shuffled things around. But I think now we’re really starting to come together as a group, build off each other and really just gel; I think that’s really exciting and that hasn’t necessarily happened at this point in the season in previous years.”
CRS: Outside of soccer, what organizations are you part of?
KN: “Every year, we are expected to complete 24 hours of community service. This year, a big chunk of my hours have gone toward working with Special Olympics; I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Special Olympics. My mom was a special education teacher for a long time, so she kind of instilled that in me. I love working with the kids and adults.”