After dominating group play the U.S. Women’s Olympic soccer team fell in a tough shoot out loss to end their Olympic competition in Rio. Three of the U.S. Women’s National Team members returned home to our very own Chicago Red Stars where their presence was quickly felt in a 3-1 victory against Sky Blue FC. The Chicago Red Stars, who compete in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) are Chicago’s very own women’s professional soccer team and in addition to featuring Christen Press, Julie Johnston and Alyssa Naeher of the U.S. Women’s National Team they also have rookie defender Katie Naughton who is an Elk Grove Village native and Notre Dame Alum.
Naughton like many Chicago kids starting playing soccer early at age 5 and said it was her “dream to play soccer professionally.”
After starring at Elk Grove Village High School and ultimately attending Notre Dame Naughton’s dream came true when the Chicago Red Stars made her their 1st pick (19th overall) in this year’s NWSL entry draft. According to Naughton the opportunity to play professionally for her hometown team, “could not have been scripted any better”.
The Red Stars who have a record of 8-4 with 4 draws find themselves locked in a playoff battle where the top 4 teams advance in the NWSL’s playoffs. The Red Stars currently are positioned in 3rd place with 4 games to play so as Naughton says, “these are all big games now.” Naughton went on to say, “we are all focused on the goal at hand and that’s picking up 3 points each game and making the playoffs.”
With the playoff race on this is a great time to come out and see Red Stars in action and if you will not be disappointed as the team plays all of their home games at conveniently located Toyota Park in Bridgeview, IL. Naughton and the rest of her teammates know the advantage of playing in a “world class” purpose built facility brings to their game.
Growing up in Chicago Naughton cheered on the Cubs and Blackhawks, but now all of her focus is getting prepared to host the Seattle Reign FC club on Sunday September 4th at Toyota Park. Seattle features its own U.S. Women’s National Team member Megan Rapinoe. Tickets for the Seattle match as well as the Red Stars’ last two home games against FC Kansas City on 9/7 and the Washington Spirit on 9/24 are on sale now at www.chicagoredstars.com.
Katie Naughton is a true Chicago Sports Homer that has demonstrated what is possible with hard work and dedication. When asked if she had any advice for some of her younger fans she simply said…”Absolutely…follow your dreams!”