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The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Utah Soccer Team Reaping Rewards of Taking Chance on Goalie-Turned-Forward

The U was the only school that gave Katie Tate a chance. Not necessarily a chance at playing soccer on the school team, but rather, allowing her to play out in the field, and not at goalkeeper.

Growing up, Tate, now a junior for the Utes, always played goalkeeper on her soccer teams. She excelled at that position. A Sacramento, Calif., native, Tate became a star player from an early age.

When Tate was 14 years old, she tried out for an Olympic Development Team in California. She decided that she would get more chances to play being a goalie. She had never played goalkeeper before. Her athleticism helped her prevail at that position and gave her a spot on the state team.

All through high school, Tate played goalie as well. She was recruited by several colleges to play goalkeeper. But Tate did not want to play goalie anymore. She wanted to be out in the field, scoring goals and being more involved in the game.

Tate began writing letters to colleges trying to get them to recruit her as a field player. Fate was on her side.

Utah coach Amy Winslow saw Tate play at a tournament in Texas when her club team did not have enough field players. Tate left the goalkeeper position to play in the field, and Winslow liked what she saw.

Winslow was the only coach that recruited Tate to play out in the field. That was the major reason Tate chose Utah over competing schools.

With Tate?s playing record, that proved to be a good decision. Last year, Tate was second on the Utes in scoring, with 12 goals. Only all-time Ute leader Amy Kofoed had more.

At the same time Tate was being recruited by Utah, so too was Maren Harper, one of Tate?s best friends. ?We always said we wanted to go to school together. This was the only school that recruited both of us,? Tate said.

?Tate has worked hard and has technically become better, stronger and faster,? said Ute assistant Jim Winslow. ?She might be the best finisher on this team.?

Including four this year, Tate now has 19 career goals.

But scoring is not one of Tate?s key focuses. ?I won?t take a shot unless it?s open,? she said. ?I try to set other people up.?

Though her focus is not scoring, Tate still wants to be known as an impact player. ?I want people to know when I?m out there,? she said. ?I don?t just want to be a player who blends in with everyone else.?

Tate is 5-feet-8-inches tall and doesn?t take much grief from opposing defenders. She?ll get rough with anyone and refuses to back down. ?I?m not afraid to take a hit or go in high on a tackle,? she said. ?I?m not going to avoid a tackle just because I see someone running at me.?

Her coach said she likes to make sure no defender gets the best of her.

?Katie has become one of the most dangerous strikers in the conference,? Amy Winlsow said. ?She has good size, and, because of that, she can turn defenders easily that try to play her too tight.?

Tate is able to literally knock defenders back, turn them around, and get herself a clean shot at the back of the net.

?Katie?s good at doing that, almost to the point where we wish she?d use it more to create more opportunities,? Jim Winslow said.

But Tate is not a cheap player. She hates it when opposing teams want to fight or cheap-shot. She has worked very hard to earn a scholarship to play soccer and she feels that cheap play detracts from that. She just wants to play hard.

?After I walk off the field, I want to feel like I did the best I could,? she said.

Tate was Second Team All Mountain West Conference as a sophomore and was voted by her teammates as the U’s co offensive Player of the Year.

And while her size is her biggest asset?much like Kofoed’s speed or Shauna Gurr-Bingham’s rocket leg?Tate wants to be known as a multi-dimensional player, one who is aggressive, strong and intelligent. Consequently, she constantly works to improve. ?Each year, I?ve gotten better and more skilled, but I haven?t reached my peak yet.?

Perhaps Tate?s greatest attribute is her ability to play within the team.

?Everybody?s a good player,? she said. ?I?m a team player.?

Her teammates agree.

?Katie?s a really hard worker, and she?s really intense up top,? Lesa Zollinger said. ?She?s a really good teammate.?

?Katie?s personality really comes out on the field because of her determination and striving to be the best,? Bobbie Benegas said. ?She?s an awesome person.?

She?s a leader. Tate speaks up to her teammates and tries to get her team pumped up. A concern Tate has is actually talking too much at halftime.

?Sometimes, I?ll tell myself before halftime, ?OK, I can?t say too much,?? she said.

Meanwhile, though finding the net herself is not her biggest priority, Tate still loves to score, and says her biggest thrill is scoring in a big game. When the game is on the line, the bench is the last place Tate wants to be.

?I love tight, close, fighting games,? she said.

Against No. 23 Arizona State earlier this year, Tate scored Utah?s only goal and gave the Utes the 1-0 win.

?Arizona State was a ranked team and we wanted to beat them,? Tate recalled.

But it is her ability to think on her feet that makes her a great player. That sets her aside from other players. She thinks about what the team practiced on and works on that in the games, instead of just running around. She?s smart.

She is still considering playing professionally when her collegiate career is over, but is unsure about whether it will actually happen.

Tate is majoring in human development and family studies and hopes to work with children in someway or another. ?I love to work with kids,? she said.

But this year, for Tate, has been a change from her past. She has a different view on life because of the death of a close friend last summer in a motorcycle accident.

She has learned not to worry and just tries to enjoy life more so now.

?I want to live each day and be as happy as I can be,? she said. ?I want to give as much as I can to others and just be a good person.?

She likes to read for fun and, although time is hard to find for that, she tries. She also enjoys outdoor activities and visiting with her family.

Attitude, intelligence, strength, speed, leadership?You name a positive quality in a soccer player, Katie Tate probably possesses it.

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