On the field: Natalie Humphrey & Casey Ferguson
An interview with the senior captains of the Wharton High School girl’s soccer team
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How long have you ladies been playing together?
Natalie: Since we were about 12. We’ve been playing together with Wharton for four years. We were two of just four freshmen to make the team our first year.
What positions do you play?
Natalie: I play outside midfield.
Casey: I play anywhere on the defense.
What’s it like playing at Mitchell D. Muley Stadium?
Casey: The “Blue Crew” is great. They usually have a cheering section that comes to the games. When they’re here for the big home games, the atmosphere is just electric.
Natalie: It’s a big stadium. I like how even when it’s cold out, we have our friends come out in blankets and cheer for us. The music, the lights; everything just makes you feel like you’re determined to win.
What’s the best stadium you’ve ever played in?
Casey: I’d have to say ours. You have your home field advantage, and the grass is usually groomed well.
What’s your least favorite stadium to play in?
Casey: Plant. The turf is very different from our field, and it hurts when you slide on it. The ball moves a lot faster too, and I’m not used to that.
Natalie: I’d have to say Newsome because they’re one of our rivals.
Who’s your favorite soccer player?
Casey: Cristiano Ronaldo
Any reason why you wear your respective numbers?
Natalie: I wear No. 2 because it’s been my favorite number. First is the worst, second is the best.
Casey: I’ve always had No. 11 since I was a little kid, and I just keep wearing it.
Who’s the clown of the Wharton girl’s soccer team?
Casey: I’d say Ally or Natalie. They’re always goofing around.
Natalie, who are you look to connect with on the field when the team is on offense?
Do you have any superstitions?
Casey: I always put on my left cleat before my right.
Natalie: Casey and I usually do a handshake before every game. Also, our starting 11 will get in a huddle and talk about our goals for the game and our expectations that we have.
Does the team have a pump-up song that you listen to before games?
Natalie: “We fell in love” by Rhianna. We’d listen to it every game. It was the first song to come on before our warm up.
What are you goals after high school?
Casey: I want to play club soccer at the University of Florida and get a good degree in accounting.
Natalie: I’m thinking about going to Florida State University and playing club soccer. I’m looking into physical therapy as a major.
What are your expectations this season?
Casey: Last year we lost in the district semifinals to Newsome. This year we’re hoping to win state.
Natalie: We’ve lost to Newsome twice in districts two years in a row. We lost some good players, but we have some key girls coming back. I think Casey and I will put our leadership in and try to get the team determined to win states.
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Name: Mitchell D. Muley Stadium
Location: 20150 Bruce B. Downs Blvd., Tampa, FL 33647
Namesake: The stadium is named after Wharton High School’s first principal, who led the school from 1997 to 2002.
Team profile: The Wharton Lady Wildcats were ranked as one of the best in the state by ESPN in 2012. Bright House Sports Network also recognized the team as one of the Best in the Bay. The girls finished second in the districts last season and lost to Newsome in the state semifinals. Coach Denis Vukorep’s record was 73-55-16 as of press time.