Tuloso-Midway senior Audrey-Anna Gatlin is a teenager who loves her sport. An avid football fan whose favorite player is Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (but is in love with quarterback Tony Romo), hopes to one day be involved in sports management.
She is headed in the right direction after signing with Northwood University-Texas Campus in Dallas to play soccer for the Lady Knights next fall.
"It's a great business school and I love the campus," Gatlin said. "I wasn't just looking for a school in Texas, I was just looking for the right school for me."
The three-year soccer veteran was the leader in goals scored and assists during the Cherokees 2007-2008 year.
During her freshman year, Audrey-Anna was playing club soccer and tennis before she realized that soccer was more suited for her.
"Soccer is the one game that gets my adrenaline pumping," Audrey-Anna said. "You can be very aggressive and there is a lot of running. I have loved it since I was a kid."
In addition to her hard work on the field, Audrey-Anna has also done volunteer work as well as holding a part-time job while maintaining a high grade point average.
"In everything she has done she has excelled," said Audrey-Anna's mother Monica Gatlin. "She has been competitive since the day she was born.
Head coach Alex Richards also expressed his gratitude for Audrey-Anna's accomplishment.
"She was a true captain and she came through when we needed it," Richards said. "Our program started from ground zero, and with a player like Audrey-Anna signing to play collegiate soccer is a great feeling. Who could ask for anything more?
Northwood University head coach Robert Podeyn knew that Audrey-Anna would be a good fit with the Lady Knights.
"She is a very good technically and that is what I look for in a great soccer player," Podeyn said. "She has that desire to compete and I know she wants to win."
Like all seniors, Audrey-Anna is going to miss a lot about her experiences with the team.
"This program taught me to become a great leader," she said. "Coach Richards has been like an older brother. I don't know what I would do without him."
Father Lonnie Gatlin is thrilled about her achievement, but he is mostly happy about his daughter staying stateside.
"It's such a relief that she got signed to play something she loves, and the fact that it's in Texas make me happy," Lonnie said. "She gives everything that she has got, and it has paid off well for her."