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Chicago lesbian on world-champion deaf soccer team
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Ross Forman, Windy City Times
2012-08-07

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Katie Romano has more gold for the mantel.

Romano—playing wide forward and scoring twice as well as dishing off three assists—helped the United States capture the gold medal at the 2012 World Deaf Football Championships, played in late July in Ankara, Turkey.

Romano, 26—who lives in Huntley, Ill., works as a package handler for FedEx Ground and is married to her wife, Casandra Cattouse—was the lone Chicago-area player on the U.S. team.

The U.S. defeated Russia 1-0 for the title on July 28, wrapping up the 12-day event. Stacy Messner scored the lone goal in the gold medal game.

"I thought [winning the gold] was the most beautiful thing to see on the field," Romano said. "I was so excited that I got goose bumps when I saw the ball [go in] the net. I felt awesome knowing that we had the lead," when Messner scored.

Romano has played soccer since she was 8, including all four years at Bartlett High School. She then played four years in college—one year at Harper College in Palatine, and then at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., where she was the team MVP and an all-star player all three years (2005-2008).

She became a member of the deaf national soccer team after graduating from high school in 2004, and went to the first Deaflympics in Melbourne, Australia, in 2005, where her team won the gold medal. In 2009, at the second Deaflympics in Taipei, Taiwan, she again won the gold medal.

"There is no comparison with all [of the] gold [medals] that I have won," Romano said. "They all are amazing and the best experience that anyone can have. Knowing that my hard work has paid off."

Earlier in the tournament, the United States defeated Russia (1-0), Japan (4-1), Germany (8-0) and Poland (3-1).

"Fitness, teamwork and, most importantly, the bonding with the team," were key, Romano said. "We all came to Turkey with one goal—to win the World Cup.

"My job was to stay wide, so I can pull the defenders away from middle, and that's when our center forward scored the goal in the final against the Russia.

"Running for 90 minutes in 95-to-100-degree weather was a very hard thing to do. After every game all of us had to sit in the ice tub to [help] our legs recover."

The United States outscored its opponents 17-5.

Romano had two of the U.S. goals, including an early tally against Germany, which, she said, "helped the team fire up and dominate the game."

"I was on fire in the Germany game. I played so well that everyone asked me who I was."

Romano said one of her favorite off-the-field Turkish highlights was a trip to a museum to visit the tomb of Turkey's first president. "It was very beautiful place," she said.

Romano is active locally in recreational indoor soccer leagues, and has played for the Chicago Force women's tackle football team.


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