Cathedral senior learns new skills, perspective on soccer field

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 18, 2017

When Cathedral High School’s Anna Schwager moved to Baton Rouge in the third grade, it was too late for her to join a soccer league.

By the time she moved back to her hometown of Natchez for her freshman year, Schwager never thought she would ever get the chance to play.

“In Baton Rouge, you pick a sport and that’s your sport,” she said. “I always wanted to play soccer as a kid, but it’s very big leagues there. I started swimming and did track, and I stuck with those.”

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Schwager’s track skills were what eventually led to her joining the Lady Green Wave this season.

“I came to a lot of soccer games last year because I have friends on the team,” she said. “Everyone would always tell me, ‘You know Anna, since you run track you could probably play if you just practice.’”

So, that’s what she did.

Schwager said she began practicing in early July for her position as Cathedral’s sweeper — a team’s final defender before the goalie.

As the summer progressed, though, Schwager learned soccer was more difficult than she thought.

“Even though a lot of people think they can just go out and play soccer, I had to work my butt off to play,” she said. “It’s a hard sport. There are so many rules.”

Through the learning curves, Schwager has leaned on Cathedral’s other two seniors Emily Hicks and CeCe McKinney.

“They are both really athletic. I’ve learned everything I know from CeCe and Emily,” Schwager said. “We might not all be equal in experience, but we are all equal in dedication and we all keep everyone else lifted up. We really are a good group.”

As Cathedral (6-2) moves through its season, Schwager thinks her new role will even help her come track season.

The 400, 4×100 and 4×200 meter runner is also a member of the Cathedral dance team.

“When I run track I get really nervous. I get in my head because it’s all about you and the time,” Schwager said. “I think soccer is going to help me with that because I won’t worry about it as much. With soccer, I actually have to think. We will see how it goes when February rolls around.”

And before the Lady Green Wave ends its soccer season, Schwager has a goal.

“We want to win district,” she said. “We just can’t let it go over our heads. I feel like if we keep our spirits up and keep communicating, we can do it. It’s within reach.”

Cathedral will be back in action today when it travels to Laurel Christian.