Cat Jorgensen fits her own moldBy Ben Stansell | 10/04/2017 11:05pm
Although it’s impossible to tell by watching her play on the soccer field, junior defender Cat Jorgensen is an anomaly.
Unlike most Alabama students, Jorgensen does not covet fall Saturdays. Instead, Jorgensen would rather invest her time in a variety of solitary outdoor activities or sleeping. Jorgensen’s aversion to Alabama football games does not stem from a lack of school spirit or a distaste for football; Jorgensen simply prefers to spend her time away from large crowds, enjoying the outdoors or watching Law and Order.
Jorgensen’s lone-wolf mentality, which is evident in nearly every aspect of her life except for soccer, is only one characteristic that separates her from the pack.
Having grown up as the youngest and only daughter of two military parents, Jorgensen’s independence is a product of her upbringing. On the rare occasions that she has followed in the footsteps of others, Jorgensen has always managed to do it on her own terms, forging a path of her own.
When she was in high school, Jorgensen followed the lead of her older brother Roger, but did in an unconventional way, by joining the all-boys varsity football team. She was recruited to play kicker for the team after the head coach witnessed her sink several long field goals after practice one day.
“Well my brother played football his senior year and I just liked to do everything he did so I was out kicking, just messing around on the football field and the coach saw me kick and it was like a 35 or 45-yard field goal,” Jorgensen said. “The coach was like, ‘Oh you want to come out for the football team?’ and I was like, ‘Oh yeah you’re so funny,’ but then I did it.”
While Jorgensen showed flashes of talent as a place kicker on the football field, her real potential would be reached on the soccer field. It did not take long for Jorgensen’s skills to catch the eye of a soccer coach from Darlington Soccer Academy in Rome, Georgia, who was hosting a soccer camp. After her recruitment, Jorgensen finally made the decision to transfer to Darlington during her junior year in high school. For Jorgensen, the decision was about growing as a player and getting the opportunity to be seen and recruited by Alabama and other SEC schools.
“In Alaska you don’t get seen. No coaches are going to fly all the way up there when there’s all this talent down here. My junior year I went to visit [Darlington Soccer Academy] and I really liked it there and if I wanted to play at Alabama, which I wanted to, or anywhere in the South, I pretty much had to make that decision,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen’s desire to attend and play soccer at Alabama was cultivated by the fact that both her mother and her eldest brother Brad attended the University.
Before Jorgensen even arrived in Tuscaloosa, she knew that she was not going to fit the mold of a typical Alabama student. She came to this conclusion not because she is one of the only soccer players to come from Alaska, but because her personal preferences and habits differ from most.
“I don’t do the whole sorority makeup thing," Jorgensen said. "I don’t go out. I don’t really like people a whole lot. Not in groups. I’d rather be out by myself hiking or something. I spend a lot of time by myself, doing my own things. I want to be in charge of my own life.”
Even though Jorgensen, who was bestowed the nickname “Alaska” by her teammates, embraces her individuality off the field, she understands that once she touches the pitch, it does not matter where she is from or what she does on her own time; the only thing that matters is playing winning soccer with her teammates.
“I think soccer is universal. So as long as you have people here who want to work hard and put in the effort for the team it doesn’t matter where you’re from,” Jorgensen said. “It’s like a smile. If I smile at you in any country you’re most likely to smile back. Soccer just kind of clicks like that.”
Jorgenson and the Crimson Tide will travel to College Station to take on No. 19 Texas A&M Thursday at 7 p.m. Alabama is still searching for its first SEC win of the season after a 0-3-1 start to the conference schedule.