Katie Naughton has been over in Perth, Australia making the most of her NWSL offseason getting valuable minutes in the W-League with Perth Glory. We caught up with the standout center back and Chicago native to see how life is, what she is looking forward to in 2019 and a little message for the fans.

You grew up in Chicago, played collegiately at Notre Dame and was drafted by the Red Stars in 2016, letting you return home for your professional career. Can you tell us a little bit on what it meant to be drafted by Chicago and now earning valuable minutes? Why is Chicago the city for you?

Draft day is filled with so much anxiety and pressure, so when Chicago called my name, I was both relieved and excited. I was coming home. To be able to have the support system of my friends and family has been monumental in my development as a player and as a person, and I wouldn’t want to have it any other way.

You are currently over in Perth, Australia in the W-League playing for Perth Glory, along with Red Stars teammates Alyssa Mautz, Nikki Stanton, and Sam Kerr. Can you tell us a bit about your time over there?

Right now, I am playing for Perth Glory in the W-league and this is my third year being in Australia for the offseason. My time here has been surreal because every beach we go to could be the backdrop of a postcard and I am constantly pinching myself to make sure this is a reality. The coffee is exceptional too, so that helps me out in the mornings (I’m a night owl and late sleeper so I need all the help I can get). As for the soccer, the standard has been increasing in this league each year I’ve been fortunate enough to play here. This year every team has done a great job of building their program, which has created a very tight race for the end of season run. But I am confident we will continue to stay towards to the top of the ladder and make a playoff run. Being able to play along Mautzy, Nikki and Sam are a good plus too ;).

Last season for the Red Stars seemed like a very tight-knit team that seemed to create a bond like any other year. What excited you the most about the players on the team in 2018 and what’s returning for 2019?

Last year we had a very close team both on and off the field. I think the relationships that we had off the field were what helped carry us so far on the field. It’s easier to play with and for someone else, if you know what they’re playing for as well. I’m excited to start building on the relationships and friendships that I already have, and also creating new ones with the girls coming into the team!

We’ve been doing some rapid fire with the rookies that were just drafted, so we are going to do some quick rapid fire with you, but we are going to make it Chicago edition. Here we go:

Favorite Coffee shop: CC Ferns

Favorite restaurant: Smoque (BBQ)

Favorite rooftop: London House

Favorite hangout: Six corners area

Favorite tourist attraction: Millennium Park

Lastly, what would you like to tell the fans heading into this season:

First of all, thank you so much for your support, it means more than you all know. This season we are going to need the help of our fans more than ever to help carry us through the season, especially with the World Cup right around the corner. It’s going to be a very exciting season and I know we can’t wait to go on this journey with you all! Can’t wait to come back to my kind of town. Go Red Stars!