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From the Beijing Games

Soccer Star Kate Markgraf Returns For Third Olympics Just 21 Months After Giving Birth

By JulieD

There are 20 U.S. women competing at the Beijing Games who are also mothers, some still competing at the highest level in their sports well into their thirties. Kate Markgraf, 31, soccer star and mother of 21 month old baby boy, Keegan, proves that contrary to belief, women can have it all.

Soccer Star & First Time Mom Kate Markgraf

Markgraf made the national team in 1998 at the young age of 18, making her the youngest player selected for the 1999 FIFA Women's World Cup team. Not only was she selected for this highly competitive team, but she started in five of the six matches, including playing in the entire final against China.

After playing at both the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games, Markgraf took most of the year off in 2006 to have her first child and then quickly returned to the team, playing in her first international game just six weeks after giving birth. Now, just 21 months after the birth of her son, Markgraf is competing in the Beijing Games, hoping to win the gold as she did in Athens.

Family & Team Support

Markgraf says that she relies on the support of others to balance her career and being a new mom, telling NBC that "the big thing that you need is a lot of family support, and a lot of team support. I get a lot of help from my teammates; I could not do it if I didn't always have someone coming to my room asking me if I needed help with my son."

Markgraf is an excellent example of a woman being able to have children while still continuing to compete in the sport that they love. She shows that women can have it all and that they don't have to choose, as long as they are willing to work extra hard.  "I hope I am showing the younger girls that they can still have a family and be on the team," she says. Markgraf's husband Chris will be in the stands with their son to cheer her on in her quest for gold.