Any student that knows anything about athletics at the University of Pennsylvania has heard her name. Anyone who follows the Red and Blue’s successes has surely seen this name in a number of headlines. Come back here in 20 years and her name will be among those in the Penn Athletics Hall of Fame. Katy Cross has made her mark here.
But recognition does not stop there. The soccer community throughout the United States knows Katy Cross. An NSCAA All-American and a three-time NSCAA and SoccerBuzz All-Mid-Atlantic selection, Cross has become one of the most touted female soccer players in the nation.
The ball was on Katy Cross’ feet from a very young age. She began her soccer career at the age of six with a little inspiration from her older brother.
“When I was six years old I saw my big brother playing soccer. I always wanted to do everything that he did so I started to play,” Cross said.
That’s when she began her climb to soccer success. Growing up in Claremont, Calif. she attended Claremont High School. A four year letter-winner for the varsity team, Cross competed outside of her high school as well and was a four-year member of the NHB Magic Club.
A high school standout, Cross earned her right to be recruited to play soccer in college. Despite her accomplishments, Cross was not nationally recognized for her high school career. Going into college, any coach had to be questioning just what exactly was behind her quiet demeanor.
Fortunately for Penn, Coach Darren Ambrose found the eye of the tiger. Her first collegiate game saw the Quakers come away with a 2-0 victory over Iowa State. A good way to start off the year, but a great way to start off a college career, Cross scored both goals in the win. Any questions as to the talent of the young student-athlete were quickly answered.
Since that game, things have only continued uphill. Named Ivy-League Rookie of the Year, first-team Mid-Atlantic, and NSCAA All-America second team and an Ivy League Championship, Cross ended her freshman year on quite the positive note. Since that year her success has showed no signs of slowing down.
Sophomore and junior years saw the accolades continue to pile up. Named Ivy-League Player of the Year following her second season, Cross brought the Quakers an award that had never been won by a female soccer player in the history of the program. And then the record breaking performances began.
With two games left in her senior career, Katy Cross holds eight records in the Penn soccer archives. Points in a game (9), points in a season (38), career points (123), goals in a game (4), goals in a season (16), career goals (49), assists in a season (10), and career assists (25) are all records held by Cross. The most remarkable part - she broke seven of those in just three seasons.
So coming into this year, were expectations high for the senior? That might be an understatement. Did the pressure go to her head? Definitely not.
“Every player on our team has expectations for themselves,” she said. “I have expectations for myself in every game. So if there are expectations from other people for me to perform, I don't notice. Whatever they expect me to do, I expect myself to do better.”
Cross’ expectations for herself don’t just stay on the soccer field. Without a doubt, she pushes herself just as hard in the classroom. A psychology major in the College of Arts and Sciences, Cross has had as much such success with the pen as she does with the soccer ball. She has twice been recognized as a Verizon/CoSida Academic All-American.
With two games left, the end of Cross’ college career is within sight. What a career it has been. Although the season is not yet over, and awards have not yet been given, there are sure to be more accolades to come. There is no doubt that a single one of her accomplishments were well deserved.
With all the accomplishments, honors and press that Katy Cross has seen, she has every reason to have a hefty chip on her shoulder. With every shattered record, she has the right to boast and brag. But boast she will not. So add another accomplishment to the list - modesty. Hard work, dedication, desire, drive, intensity, the list of what it takes to succeed goes on and on. Character is created on the way to success. Character is defined by how you handle success. The modesty of a successful student-athlete such as Katy Cross portrays the exceptional character she possesses.
~Written by Matt Valenti, C’06