Tuscaloosa, AL – University of Alabama Goalkeeper Laura Lowman practices her footwork. She has already recorded four shutouts this season for her Crimson Tide soccer team, but she still hasn't forgotten a stinging encounter a few years ago with Birmingham native Catherine Reddick.
"Catherine Reddick and I played against each other in high school. She played for Briarwood Christian and I played for Grissom High School. I remember a specific game where she scored four goals on me, and that was kind of embarrassing."
With her domination in high school, Reddick was awarded a scholarship to the University of North Carolina. A storied program with 16 national titles, UNC is considered to be the top collegiate women's soccer program in the country. Head Coach Anson Dorrance started Reddick for the first time in her collegiate career in the 2000 National Championship game against UCLA. The freshman responded by scoring the game winning goal with less than nine minutes to play, giving the Tar Heels another National championship. Dorrance says Reddick's qualities fit right in with the North Carolina team.
"She can jump, she can head with the best of them, and she tackles like a ton of bricks, so her physique is perfect for our game."
Since the 2000 season, she has been a member of the U.S. National team. And this year, the Americans just finished the 2003 Women's World Cup where they earned a bronze medal with a win over Canada. Reddick started the majority of the games for the U.S. as a defender, while tallying 2 goals for the tournament, including this header here against North Korea.
"The whole national team experience is my favorite moment. This World Cup is something I am never going to forget because of how fun it was and how amazing the experience was."
Being on the top collegiate women's soccer team as well as one of the best international teams has given Reddick a lot of shining moments. But for her, it's not just about winning.
"It's a game where sometimes things just don't go your way because of the way that soccer is played. But it's so much fun because everyday it's a different game, it's a fun game, and the competition is always there."
Away from soccer, Reddick enjoys spending time with her friends and family. North Carolina Coach Anson Dorrance says she is just a great person all around.
"Well, she's an amazing young woman not just as an extraordinary soccer player but just a fine person with great character and moral fiber, unbelievably likeable, and wonderfully loyal, and she just has so many fine qualities."
Because of her duties on the national team, and her studies at the University of North Carolina, Reddick rarely has time to return home to Birmingham. However, her love for her native state is strong.
"Coming from Alabama is definitely special. Nobody on this team is from Alabama, or has really experienced Alabama until they came and played England here. They don't know the kind of pride and passion I have for this state because I think it is so great and I think it's world's best kept secret."
Reddick will now return to Chapel Hill, North Carolina to try to lead the Tar Heels to their 17th national championship. She will also continue to play on the national team where the Americans will attempt to win a Gold Medal at next Summer's Olympics in Athens, Greece.
For Alabama Public Radio, I'm Bobby Puppione.