USA Women’s National Team captain Kate Barber has retired from international hockey competition. Known throughout the international field hockey community as “Tiki”, Barber spent eleven years as a member of the Women’s National Team and recently captained the U.S. Olympic Team for Women’s Field Hockey at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.
The 32-year-old Barber boasts one of the most illustrious careers in the history of USA Field Hockey. She appeared in over 200 international competitions, earning three Pan American Games silver medals and playing on the U.S. World Cup teams in 1998, 2002 and 2006. She was honored with the USA Field Hockey Female Athlete of the Year five times.
As the Women’s National Team captain, Barber led the National Team through a difficult phase from an uncertain future in 2000 to the Olympic stage in 2008. She provided hope and courage for a program fighting through a tumultuous and sometimes frustrating evolution. She helped to elevate the potential of U.S. field hockey far beyond expectations.
“Kate Barber is the greatest leader of a group of athletes that I have come in contact with in our sport,” said Lee Bodimeade, Head Coach of the Women’s National Team, “from the way she trains, both on the pitch and on the track, to the way that she selflessly performs on the field. Her competitiveness is her greatest quality, but that never gets in the way of the respect she gives to the sport she loves. The way that her teammates embraced her and enjoyed her approach means that her passion will be present with the USA team for a long time.”
'Tiki is one of the greatest people I've ever met in my life,” said National Team midfielder and teammate Kelly Doton. “Her selflessness and passion carry over off the field, as well as on.”
“Tiki is a role model, a captain, a teammate, a friend and a granny. What she demonstrated and taught us will carry on with the team forever,” said National Team striker and teammate Dina Rizzo.
Barber played collegiately at the University of North Carolina under head coach Karen Shelton. Between 1994 and 1997, she earned All-America honors three times. As a freshman in 1994, she was voted ACC Rookie of the Year. In 1995, she was named Conference Player of the Year. She also earned All-ACC, All-ACC Tournament and All-NCAA Tournament honors in 1996 and 1997. In her senior year, she was a finalist for the Honda Award. By the end of her college career, Barber was a three-time National Champion. She started all 92 games of her Tar Heels career.
“When I think back on Kate Barber’s career, I think of a player who has led by example and a player who has been tough as nails,” said Shelton. “She has been an inspiration to her teammates and a fabulous representative of our sport, of the University of North Carolina and of our country.”
“Tiki is the standard for consistent excellence,” said Steve Jennings, assistant coach for the Women’s National Team and head coach at American University. “Every day, she gave her best whether it was in the weight room, on the track or on the field.”
While retiring from competition, Barber will continue to be involved in other areas of USA Field Hockey. She was recently named to the USAFH Board of Directors, to serve as the USOC Athlete Advisory Control. She also got engaged with her longtime boyfriend, Glenn, over the 2008 holiday season. Barber, a native of West Chester, PA, graduated from Unionville High School in Unionville, PA.
USA Field Hockey is the national governing body for field hockey in the United States and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), the Federation Internationale de Hockey (FIH), and the Pan American Hockey Federation (PAFH). USA Field Hockey has approximately 19,000 members and supports programs designed to educate and promote the sport of field hockey, from its Futures program, designed for high school and college athletes, to Stick Starz, with curriculum geared to boys and girls aged 8-11.
Source: USA Field Hockey