Kate Ward, a 2016 App State graduate and four-year member of the Mountaineers football program, has been nominated for a 2022 ESPY Award, ESPN announced last week.
Now captain of the United States National Deaf Women’s Soccer Team, Ward has won five gold medals competing at the Deaf Olympics and Deaf World Cup since she was 15 years old. She was nominated for the ESPY’s Best Disabled Athlete, Women’s Sports.
“I was surprised – I’m super honored and it’s pretty surreal,” Ward said. “I think in a way I haven’t had a chance to sit down and think about it yet, and then when I sit down and think about it, I’m like, ‘Oh wow , that’s pretty cool.’”
A midfielder from Atlanta, Georgia, Ward joined the Mountaineers as a rookie in 2012 and went on to score five goals and three assists in 47 career games with the Black and Gold.
“Choosing App was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” Ward said. “I love the culture of the sports program…App State itself is so beautiful, Boone is amazing, and the academic side of things was great too.”
Ward was a Cellular Molecular Biology major while at App State and graduated Magna Cum Laude. She aspired to become an ear doctor so she could help others the same way her doctors helped her.
Ward was given hearing aids at age 3 when she learned she was deaf in one ear and hard of hearing in the other. At age 6, she began to notice that the hearing aids were no longer working and returned to the doctor to be re-examined. Barely a month later, she had completely lost her hearing, at which time her parents opted to have her fitted with cochlear implants.
After working in a physical therapy clinic after graduating, Ward realized that the medical field was no longer what she wanted to pursue. Instead, she wanted to give back to football, which had given her so much over the years.
She joined the VCU women’s soccer staff as a graduate assistant in the fall of 2017 and earned her Masters in Sports Leadership. Then, in January 2019, Ward was hired full-time as an assistant coach at UTEP, a position she currently holds.
Ward is the second athlete or team from the App State to be recognized with an ESPY nomination, joining the 2007 Mountaineer football team which was nominated for “Best Upset”, following their win over Michigan in the opener. the season. Ultimately, the New York Giants took home the award for defeating the undefeated New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
ESPYS 2022 will take place on Wednesday, July 20 at 8 p.m. Fan voting is open and will continue until July 17 at 8 p.m. Fans can vote for Ward by visiting ESPN.com/ESPYS