They are a bundle of energy and good humor squared. Kattie and Meghan Redlinger seem interchangeable, but on the soccer field, they adamantly insist they are different.
The twin seniors have signed to play college soccer at Iowa after outstanding club careers, but they’ve also made time to help build their high school team at Mid-Prairie into a legitimate threat to make the state tournament.
Meghan is the offensive threat while Kattie (pronounced Katie) is the defender. Although they are indistinguishable except to those who know them well, they have different likes and dislikes that are reflected in their different roles on the field.
“She likes to score goals, and I like to have the weight on my shoulders that if I mess up, they score,” Kattie explained.
“She likes the pressure, and I like to be the one to put it in the back of the net,” Meghan said.
“(Meghan) is very powerful, very fast, very decisive,” Mid-Prairie coach Bristol Harris said. “I know a lot of defenders see her coming, and I can literally watch them go, ‘Oh no.’ They get that look on their face like, ‘Oh no, here she comes right at me.’ She’s got the skills, she’s got the knowledge, but more importantly, she’s got the confidence in herself to succeed. It’s a real joy to watch her play.”
“She knows exactly what move to pull on you,” Kattie said. “She’s good with her feet, and she knows exactly how to pass the ball to get it to somebody and she can get it anywhere in the net.”
The twin for the defense?
“Kattie is a very, very physical player,” club coach Paul Dayrell said. “She does a little of the dirty work. She works hard breaking up other teams’ attacks.”
He noted her toughness, saying he can’t remember when she ever gave up the ball in a critical situation.
“She’s very scrappy and aggressive. She likes to get in on you, like get up in your business,” Meghan said of Kattie. “I don’t like that, so we’re good together when we practice.”
The two have played soccer since they were very little, starting with AYSO and the Iowa City Alliance. It’s not their only sport; both played on the state-tournament basketball team and both are doubling up in track again this spring. But soccer is their passion.
“I like the contact, honestly,” Kattie said with a big grin.
“We like to be aggressive,” Meghan added.
“You can get away with stuff, unlike basketball,” Kattie continued.
Most conversations with the two, if not all, involve sentences begun by one and ended by the other. Their voices have the same pitch and inflection so close attention is required unless you surrender and just attribute a comment to Team Redlinger.
“They are like a comedy team,” Dayrell said. “Sometimes I think they just do it to annoy me.”
But back to the merits of their game.
“We like how rigorous it is,” Meghan said. “You have to have a lot of endurance and stamina to be in it….
“… Not a lot of people at our school do it,” Kattie said.
“… and we like to be different,” they said in unison. “We know we are already, but still….”
They are different from some accomplished club players in that they went out for a struggling high school team.
“When they first started (as sophomores), the team was not good at all,” Harris said. “There’s no shame in that.”
Harris and assistant Stephen Rhodes worked hard with the team, but the turning point was when Sofia Chmaruk (who graduated last season and is playing college soccer) and the Redlingers came out.
“It jumped one level, and the rest of the team rose to their level,” Harris said. “Those two coming to the team brought a level of confidence. That’s what really lifted everybody up.”
They didn’t go out their freshman season, choosing to stay with the club team while also running track.
“But we missed it,” Meghan said. “And we wanted to see what the high school feel was like.”
“It’s a lot different, and we liked it kind of,” Kattie said. “High school slows it down for us and let’s us pick the game apart better.”
“We can work on our skills,” Meghan said. “High school is not as fast so that helps us get our touch better.”
The two really enjoyed helping their teammates improve their soccer skills.
“It made soccer a lot more fun for us,” Meghan said. “It wasn’t as competitive in high school. We were just having fun and playing the game.”
“That felt good because we’re used to being really competitive,” Kattie said. “It was nice to step back and take a look at stuff.”
Their thorough knowledge of each other’s game is an advantage to their high school team.
“We know what we’re doing,” Meghan said.
“As a defender, I know what runs she makes as a forward,” Kattie said. “So I know where to pass the ball.”
“We’re on the same wave length,” Meghan said.
They know each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
“Like never put Meghan on defense,” Kattie said.
Spoken like a true twin.