They’re teammates, artists, best friends and perhaps most importantly, sisters.
Women’s soccer senior forward Katie Proud, and sophomore midfielder Emily Proud found a home away from home at Belmont, and while their ultimate destination was the same, their journeys proved to be quite different.
Unlike Emily, Belmont was not Katie’s first choice.
“I’m an art major, and when I was first picking schools it was between here and Samford, and I obviously picked Samford. As the years went on, I didn’t really like it, and she [Emily] was getting recruited and looking at Belmont, and I was like ‘Dang! I should have gone there!’ So I applied to the art school and thought ‘If I get in, that’ll decide for me.’ Katie said.
Needless to say, Katie was accepted while younger sister Emily was trying to find her niche as a student in broadcast journalism.
“I thought I had to go get an internship at a news station or something, and that I wouldn’t have enough time for soccer. I soon realized I couldn’t live without soccer, so quickly, I got back into trying to get recruited.” Katie said.
Both sisters hail from Webb High School, in Knoxville, Tenn., where Katie was a state champion at Webb for two years in a row and also earned multiple track accolades including setting the school record and winning the state title in the 4 x 100 relay.
During Emily’s time at Webb, she helped the Spartans come in second-place in the state this spring. She also earned a gold medal from the Scholastic Art and Writing awards, where her winning artwork was displayed at Carnegie Hall this June.
“Our dad is really artistic, so if you’re wondering where it came from, that’s where. It was the most random thing, I was in an AP studio class, and I just decided to do it for fun,” Emily said. “You were trying to make work as quickly as you possibly can, so I did something in four or five days, and the teacher says you have to submit at least one thing in this class for competition.”
It turned out that Emily’s self-portrait drawing created with transparent paper, pencil, and alcohol showed more potential than Emily anticipated.
“ It was a picture of me in middle school, which is not the great years, but I was kinda in the water so it was like my nose and my chin and cheeks were out and everything else was in. It was a cool picture, and something I was doing for fun.” Emily said.
“I was like, ok, fine, just take what I just did. All of a sudden it blew up, and I didn’t really like it that much,” Emily said. “I don’t know what they were thinking.”
Katie enjoys painting and sculpture, but is looking toward a career in graphic design.
“If I could sit and paint all day, I would be very grateful, it’s just hard to make a living that way.” Katie said.
Upon being given the opportunity to play on the same team at the Division I level, neither sister had qualms about their future at Belmont.
“I remember talking to the coach, and the first thing that she asked me when Katie expressed interest was, ‘Do you want to be that close to your sister all the time?’ The first thing she did was make sure that it was ok with me. Technically, I was first, and she just wanted to make sure that, well, you know, teenage girls and sisters and stuff. We actually get along and we don’t fight that much.” Emily said.
“We kinda help each other with our positions, I’m kinda more of the person that assists, and she’s more of the person who scores, so in high school, that worked really well. I would look up and knew her well and knew where to play her, so I played her, and she scored a lot.” Emily said.
Even when they’re not going to early morning practices, games or weight training, the Proud sisters spend a large percentage of their time together doing anything from making a quick trip to Target or going to dinner.
Looking back on their story, Katie just laughs.
“My senior year, we did superlatives, and she got most likely to follow me to college, and now… I followed her.”