Center back Cat Reddick Whitehill outscored North Korea by two goals in a 2003 Women’s World Cup game. (Photo courtesy of Fox Sports)

This story published Sept. 28, 2003. Today, she is known as Cat Reddick Whitehill

By Michael Lewis

COLUMBUS, Ohio – It was barely a week ago that Cat Reddick made her Women’s World Cup debut. In that game she replaced injured USA ’99 hero Brandi Chastain at halftime of the U.S.’s 3-1 victory over Sweden.

Today, the 21-year-old central defender played like a veteran at both ends of Columbus Crew Stadium. She scored twice in the second half and helped preserve her team’s 3-0 shutout of North Korea with some nifty defensive play.

“I’m thrilled to death I scored two goals,” Reddick said. “It was a shock. It was the most exciting moment in my national-team career. I’ve never won an Olympics or a World Cup, so scoring a goal and being a defender is absolutely exciting. After the game, I was like ‘I can’t believe I just scored two goals.’ It was pretty funny.”

Not bad for a college senior who should be starring in central defense for the University of North Carolina. And since Team USA qualified for Wednesday’s quarterfinals in Foxboro, Mass., Reddick will have to delay her return to the Tar Heels for several more days at least. The U.S. team will go head-to-head with their biggest rival, Norway, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, October 1. The match will be aired on ESPN 2.

The 5-7, 150-lb. Reddick is certain to be in the middle of the defense for that confrontation after coming on for Chastain, who is sidelined for the rest of the tournament with a broken bone in her right foot.

“She’s doing awesome,” said team co-captain Joy Fawcett, her defensive partner. “She’s very calm out there, but you can feel she’s a little nervous.”

Reddick made sure whatever nervous energy she had was put to good use. The U.S. was clinging to a 1-0 lead early in the second half on Abby Wambach’s 17th-minute penalty kick. Then Aly Wagner, one of the replacement players, floated in a corner kick that Julie Foudy headed. Reddick knocked it in off her stomach from close range in the 48th minute.

“I kind of bodied it into the goal,” said Reddick, who entered the game with only one goal in 39 international appearances. “I guess the attacking mentality just got to me. And a little luck never hurts.”

Reddick’s second goal was more emphatic. She scored on a 10-yard header off Shannon MacMillan’s corner kick in the 66th minute.

“We had to remake our runs after the first corner kick,” she said. “I jumped over a player—and like what [I was] coached to do—I headed it back where it came from.”

Reddick’s overall performance certainly did not surprise U.S. coach April Heinrichs.

“Catherine Reddick joined our team a few years ago, and immediately I knew that with some of the qualities that she has that she has the ability to play with these women,” Heinrichs said. “She is one of the best in the air that we have. Defensively she is one of the best clearers of the ball. That one ball that she cleared went 80 or 90 yards. She’s technically clean and athletically gifted. She’s strong, she’s powerful, and she has great speed.”

Heinrichs added that Reddick’s performance was “wonderful, marvelous. Before the game she’s at one place. After the game she’s at another level.”

Heinrichs can only hope that Reddick and the U.S. will continue at that high level not only through the quarterfinals, but all the way to the October 12 final in Carson, California.