GWU Women’s Soccer Alumnus Catherine Kobelka a Member of the Guyana National Team - GWUSports.com—Official Web Site of Gardner-Webb Athletics
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Catherine Kobelka in her locker at the Gold Cup.
Courtesy: Catherine Kobelka
GWU Women’s Soccer Alumnus Catherine Kobelka a Member of the Guyana National Team
Courtesy: Gardner-Webb
          Release: August 22, 2011
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Boiling Springs, N.C. - Gardner-Webb 2005 graduate and former women's soccer player Catherine Kobelka has continued on her soccer career beyond her time at Boiling Springs, N.C. and is now a member of the Guyana National Team.

Kobelka, who joined the Guyana National program in the fall of 2009, competed, along with her team, in several rounds of the Women's World Cup qualifying tournaments throughout 2010 with the goal of qualifying for the recently completed 2011 Women's World Cup in Germany this past summer.

"As a bank manager for Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC), the juggle between my professional and athletic careers was difficult at times," stated Kobelka.  "CIBC was very supportive throughout my travels and I am appreciative of the flexibility I was afforded to manage both commitments.  I am most proud to have the chance to be a role model for young girls and helping Guyana take steps forward in the development of women's football (soccer) in schools as well as the development of grass roots club programs.  Meeting the President of Guyana was also a pretty unique and humbling experience."

Encouraged by a friend to try out for the newly created program in 2009, Kobelka, who's mother was born in Georgetown, Guyana, which by decent allows her to represent the country, participated in the initial training camp held in Guyana in December 2009.

"After my GWU playing days were over and I graduated in 2005, I always knew soccer would remain a part of my life, but never dreamed it would ever be at the International level," commented Kobelka.  "When this opportunity came up after several years of playing locally in Toronto, Canada, I knew I had to give it my best shot, after all, it's not every day you get the opportunity to play on a national team."

Her Guyana National Team's World Cup qualifying journey began with a one-week trip to Guyana where they defeated Suriname and St. Vincent.  Then Kobelka and her teammates travelled to Trinidad where they played Barbados, St. Lucia and Trinidad.  The Guyana National Team finished second overall in play at Trinidad, which put them into a two-game playoff against Cuba to determine the final spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the last round of qualifying for the Women's World Cup.

Kobelka's squad went on to defeat Cuba 3-2 on aggregate goals to secure theirs spot in the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

At the Gold Cup, which was held in Cancun, the Guyana National Team saw its journey come to an end, as they suffered losses to Mexico, Canada and Trinidad.

"Representing Guyana has not only provided me opportunities to travel throughout the Caribbean, but also the chance to develop a deeper connection with my heritage," continued Kobelka.  "Even in defeat, the experience of playing at such a prestigious level, against some of the best countries in the world is something I will always be grateful for."

From 2001 to 2004 Kobelka suited up for head women's soccer coach Kevin Mounce and the Runnin' Bulldogs, including being a member of the 2001 team that won the NCCAA National Championship.

"I cherish my time spent at GWU very much and am grateful for all the experiences it provided me, both on and off the field!  Even though I have since moved back to Canada, many of the people I met and teammates I had through the years, are still friends of mine today," commented Kobelka. "I'm always excited when I get the opportunity to come back and visit!  My favorite memory from playing soccer at GWU was winning the NCCAA National Championship in 2001, as it was a great time and I still remember all he excitement, adrenaline and accomplishment we felt afterwards!"

When asked what advice would you give to current and future GWU student-athletes, Kobelka replied, "To current and future GWU student-athletes, remember that time is your most valuable resource, so work hard to maintain a positive balance between school, athletic and social commitments," said Kobelka.  "This will help you through your GWU days as a student-athlete, and also benefit you in the "real world" in all the years following."

And for Kobelka, that is no more true than today.

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(A special thanks to Catherine Kobelka for her help with this article)



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