Sports Person of the Week
Dow Rises to the Rank of Captain for North Branford
Catie Dow earned her spot as a senior captain with the North Branford girls’ soccer team through hard work and dedication. (Photo courtesy of Catie Dow )
Catie Dow has been on the soccer field since the age of three, and has since progressed into a key member of the North Branford girls’ soccer team. In her senior season, Catie battled through an injury and helped lead the T-Birds as a captain.
Catie started by kicking the ball around with her dad in the backyard, later playing in clinics in North Branford when she was six. Two years later, she was competing for South Central Premier and, for the past six years, Catie has been participating in the Connecticut Olympic Development Program.
Catie says that her father Jeff and mother Linda have been instrumental in helping her throughout her soccer career.
“My dad never played soccer when he was younger, but he just encouraged any type of athletic doings, any kind of sports. He supported my decision to play soccer. He learned the game from there,” Catie says. “My mom managed all my club teams. They were both very supportive.”
Catie saw playing time right away when she joined the Thunderbirds as a freshman. She started as the team’s center back and was a member of North Branford’s 2017 Shoreline Conference championship team. Winning that title was the high point of her career with the T-Birds.
“We had a lot of great, talented upperclassmen. I felt like I learned a whole lot from all of them. I thought it was a great experience, being able to learn from them,” says Catie. “They had already gone through the program for three or four years. It pushed me to be better with my foot skills.”
Now a senior, Catie’s confidence has only grown throughout the past few years. The nerves Catie had as a freshman are gone as she’s progressed as a soccer player. Catie’s senior season was the culmination of her efforts on the field, as well as a learning experience. Catie was forced to miss a few weeks of action due to an injury, but that setback helped her learn how to battle through hardships.
“I missed a game or two, but I was diligent with getting it back to where it should be, where I was able to play through a game. I really had to manage it,” Catie says. “It’s difficult having to play through something like that, just mentally, too, thinking about how it could get worse. But it was a great experience to know my limits and being able to play through it.”
Catie was named one of North Branford’s captains alongside senior Ashlee Amendola and sophomore Ava Candelora for the 2020 season. It was an honor for Catie to lead the team.
“It was another great experience for me, being able to lead my teammates, since we had a new coach, fostering new relationships early on in the season between my coaches and teammates and relaying information, making that change a little bit easier for the whole team,” Catie says. “Ava and Ashlee were so great.”
While she’s been improving on the soccer field, Catie has also competed for the North Branford girls’ tennis team since her freshman year. Catie feels that playing tennis has helped her improve her soccer skills and says that participating in two sports has allowed her to meet new people and form more connections.
“A lot of the things I learned in tennis, I was able to apply in soccer. You really learn decision-making,” says Catie. “In tennis, the ball is coming at you really fast, and you have to figure out where you’re going to put it on the court and how you’re going to beat your opponent. Soccer is similar in that way. You really have to be quick on your feet. Being able to change directions and short sprints in tennis helped me in soccer.”
Catie wants to play soccer beyond high school and has been looking at numerous colleges with plans to continue her career, while majoring in biology. As she moves on from North Branford, Catie says that soccer has helped her grow into the person she is today both on and off the pitch.
“Looking back, it was really something that shaped me as a person, being able to develop the skills on the field and being able to translate it into leadership off the field, making all the friends that I have through the programs I’ve been in,” Catie says. “Playing athletics is just a great thing.”