Professional athletes have very short careers. Some are fortunate enough to last over a decade in their respective sports, while other careers may last just a single game or practice. Atlanta Beat defender Cat Whitehill has enjoyed a storied women’s soccer career, but that doesn’t mean she is not preparing for the next phase of her life. The 29-year-old Birmingham, Ala. native is gearing up for a sports broadcasting career after her playing days.
Whitehill studied communications at the University of North Carolina and has already taken part in ESPN’s broadcasts of NCAA Women’s College Cups, but this summer she will take her second career to the next level when she joins the broadcast team for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup. She will sit alongside a team that includes former U.S. Women’s National Team stars Brandi Chastain, Julie Foudy and Briana Scurry; former U.S. Women’s National Team and current Boston Breakers Head Coach Tony DiCicco and play-by-play voice Ian Darke. Whitehill also boasts an impressive international resume, having played in the 2003 and 2007 Women’s World Cup’s and having been part of the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal winning team.
While that could sound like trouble for the Atlanta Beat, Whitehill said that her and ESPN have worked out a schedule that will see her miss just one game (the June 22 road game against Sky Blue FC, which is four days before the kickoff of the Women’s World Cup). Whitehill will be in Germany during the group stage of the tournament and return stateside for the knockout stage. At that point, she will travel between Atlanta and ESPN’s Bristol, Conn. studios. Atlanta only plays twice during that time (the Women’s World Cup final is July 17), so everything fell into place pretty well for Whitehill.
“It will be a lot of traveling but it will be fun,” Whitehill said. “It’s a great opportunity for me to start pursuing my second career in broadcasting. That’s what I would love to do afterward and ESPN has fortunately given me an incredible opportunity with the college game and the World Cup, so one day I would love to get into college football if possible.”
Yes, college football. Whitehill, a defender with a pretty extensive international soccer resume, did grow up in the heart of football country. But just because she’s from Alabama doesn’t mean she’s a Crimson Tide fan.
“I love Georgia and Florida. Well UNC, of course, but we’re not very good,” she said with a laugh. “We could have been good last year.”
At 29-years-old, Whitehill still has plenty of soccer left in her, even if she likes to joke that she’s getting old. But eventually, the day will come when her body and her mind will tell her that it’s time to trade in the cleats for the microphone. She won’t have a better opportunity to showcase that broadcasting talent than on the world stage this summer.
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