Chicago Red Stars' midfielder Georgia Waddle must have come by her athletic talents genetically.
Her maternal grandfather is Gino Capelletti, who just announced his retirement as the radio voice of the New England Patriots, playing 11 seasons for the Patriots as a receiver, kicker and defensive back. He was named to five All-Star teams and was the league's all-time leading scorer.
Her father is former Chicago Bears wide receiver Tom Waddle, who played for the Bears from 1989-94. An All-Madden team selection in 1991, his career stats included 2,109 receiving yards, nine TDs, and 173 receptions. At his alma mater, Boston College, Waddle is third all-time for career receptions with 139, and amassed 1,956 yards and 6 touchdowns.
Her father's long career in broadcasting, first as part of WGN Sports Central, then as part of ESPN's "Waddle and Silvy" Show, meant that her birth was heralded with an announcement. I remember Georgia because she was the last of his four daughters. Shortly after her birth, WGN sports host Dave Kaplan asked how his wife, Cara, was feeling.
I will never forget Waddle's answer. "As well as you can when you've pushed something the size of a basketball out of something the size of an orange."
For me, it was Waddle's crowning moment as a broadcaster. That's including many fine "Final Word" segment on Fox 32.
All of which means that kicking, rushing, and a killer instinct are part of her lineage. And Waddle, like her grandfather and father, helped her team win a national title.
The Lake Forest, IL native will be a sophomore at Northwestern this fall. As a freshman, competing for Northwestern, she finished with 12 shots, including four on goal. In high school, she played year-round for the Eclipse Select soccer team, and helped lead the team to the 2009 Disney Showcase championship . She also helped win the MRL championships in Fall 2006 and Spring 2007.
For the first time since 1998, when the fledgling Chicago Fire overtook more seasoned competition to win the MLS Cup, Toyota Park had a championship team on the field Sunday afternoon.
Waddle had a big game as the Red Stars overcame the New York Athletic Club 3-2 to take their first ever National Cup title. Amanda Cinalli led the way with a goal and an assist, while Ashlee Elliott and Waddle each added a goal for the winners. Then, in the final minutes, Cinalli and Waddle helped save the day for the Red Stars: after some nifty footwork, Cinalli put a shot on goal from the left side of the field in the 66th that the NYAC ‘keeper tried to save but it caromed to the far post before being slotted away by Waddle.
And with the game over, the club won its first-ever national title and USASA National Cup.
"This is the first National Championship for the Chicago Red Stars club,” said an elated team owner Arnim Whisler. “NYAC has won this competition in the past. They are a class organization with quality players who gave us all we wanted today."
Potentially, the Red Stars could win two titles in two weeks. With the WPSL Elite title on the line, the Red Stars, who captured 4th place in the conference, will face the 1st place Boston Breakers when the playoffs begin tonight in Rochester, NY.
Chicago meets Boston at 7pm CDT. Games can be heard live over the internet at www.wnyflash.com.
The Red Stars and Breakers split their regular season series 1 and 1. Chicago gave Boston their first loss of the season back on June 3rd in Naperville when Michele Weissenhofer scored the lone goal of the game in the first half. When the teams met-up again on June 30th in Boston, it looked as if the game would end in a drag-out scoreless tie. That is until the 90th + waning moments of the match when Kyah Simon slid after a ball and gave the Breakers a shocking 1-0 last minute victory.
The WNY Flash (2nd place) and NY Fury (3rd place) will meet at 4pm CDT.
The winners of these matches will meet Saturday for the championship.
An elated Whisler had some words for the Red Stars faithful. " The fans and I want to thank all the players, staff and coaches for the sacrifices that you made to keep us in the hunt for two separate championships this year.”
“All season, we carried a large roster to be able to essentially play two top caliber teams simultaneously, like we had to do today,” went on Whisler. “We now move onto the WPSL Elite Championships and a chance at the very rare ‘double’.”
It's somehow fitting that the Red Stars drew the Boston Breakers, the historic New England city that has been the site of so many memories for the Cappelletti-Waddle family. And at age 19, Waddle will have have something neither her father or grandfather ever had: two championships in two weeks. A rare family indeed.