Mike Magee walked into the Chicago Fire’s Toyota Park locker room after last Saturday’s 4-1 victory against D.C. United and went looking for another score.
Chicago Red Stars 1, Washington Spirit 0, a shutout for Jackie Santacaterina and her teammates in a National Women’s Soccer League match just 23 miles away at Benedictine University in Lisle.
The trade that brought the 28-year-old Magee home at the end of May — after nearly 13 years playing soccer in Florida, New York and Los Angeles — set up a rare combination, first cousins playing first-division professional soccer in the same city.
“I go to all her games,” Magee said earlier this week after training in Bridgeview in preparation for Saturday’s game at Houston (8 p.m., NBC Sports Network).
“Obviously, I’ve known for a long time she’s a special person and obviously a great soccer player. I remember watching her when she was young, but it’s great to see how far she’s come as a person and obviously as a player.”
The Santacaterina family are regulars at Fire games also, though last weekend presented a problem. Both the Red Stars and the Fire played at home Saturday night, the Red Stars starting at 6 p.m. and the Fire kicking off at 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a family battle,” Magee said with a laugh. “I definitely miss it. This last week she had a game at 6, so I found myself the moment our game ended trying to see how their game went.”
When the Red Stars auctioned off special jerseys after their July 4 game, Magee outbid another fan for Santacaterina’s jersey to keep it in the family. It’s a release for him to hang out and just be a fan.
“Oh, it’s the best,” Magee said. “I’ve got a bunch of cousins still playing sports … so it’s awesome to go and support them and watch them. I missed out for so long, so it’s so cool to go back and be a cheerleader.”
Santacaterina, who played at Geneva High School before moving on to the University of Illinois, grew up watching Magee play soccer in the Northwest suburbs.
“Him and his older sister Michelle played soccer, and growing up living in the same area we always went to their games and that was how we got into it,” Santacaterina said, including her younger brothers Michael, a redshirt junior linebacker on the NIU football team, and Daniel, the junior quarterback at Geneva High.
But Santacaterina, a 25-year-old defender, didn’t pattern her game after Magee, a forward whose 12 goals rank him second in Major League Soccer this season.
“More like Michelle. Mike is a little more finesse and I’m kind of known for my physicality. We don’t really play alike,” Santacaterina said by telephone from Portland, where the Red Stars will take on the Portland Thorns on Sunday night.
Magee said the two never share notes about the sport, no words of advice from the older cousin needed.
“We talk about everything, but she doesn’t need any help from me,” Magee said with a smile. “We talk about everything, so it’s never full-blown advice. We’re so close that she can just watch me and we can hang out and talk about what’s on our mind.”
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