April 13, 2011

By Natalie Davis Miller for ND Today

Gold medalist and former Notre Dame women’s soccer player Kate Sobrero Markgraf ’98 recently retired from soccer, but she hasn’t given up the sport entirely. This summer fans around the world will see her as a play-by-play analyst for ESPN.

She’ll be covering the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) Women’s World Cup in Germany June 26 – July 17. “It’s just exciting to be able to speak knowledgeably about something I love,” says Markgraf of her new TV gig. “Basically I’ll be there to explain the `why’ of how things happen for those who don’t play soccer–keeping it to an easy, understandable manner.”

Markgraf was a three time NSCAA All-American when she played for Notre Dame. She has many other accolades including being named defensive MVP in the NCAA Final Four in 1995. Notre Dame would go on to win the NCAA women’s soccer championship that year. She was also named Big East defensive player of the year in 1997, and in 1999, she was the youngest member of the winning USA Women’s World Cup team.

Markgraf has competed and received medals in three Olympic Games, receiving a silver medal in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, a gold in the 2004 Athens Olympic Games, and another gold in the 2008 Olympic Games held in Beijing. She has played on a number of professional teams, most recently the Chicago Red Stars.

Married and the mother of three, Markgraf says she will always be a mom first. “I don’t want to miss bedtime with my kids,” says Markgraf of her decision to retire from the sport.

Any future involvement with soccer will come through coaching and volunteering instead of playing the sport. “Soccer is not something that I can do for fun–I have to play it very competitively, and I just don’t have it anymore.”

In addition to spending time with her children, she loves cooking, reading, and “messing around” on the Internet, in particular reading code and researching websites and how they work. This interest has led to a possible business venture with a close friend.

Markgraf is keeping that venture under wraps for now, only saying that it is a “social entrepreneurship company” still in its developmental stage. “I will eventually do something that benefits society–not something I lose money over. I just have to figure out what that is.”

— ND —