116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — It was a 1,032-day wait, but one Mary Kate Moeder knew would result in a “major comeback.”
“I never doubted that,” she said.
Three years after she last played soccer for Cedar Rapids Xavier, Moeder is back in the starting lineup for the Class 2A No. 4-ranked Saints this spring as they seek to make a run at a state championship in June, like the one they won in 2019. She scored a goal in that state title game triumph, then opened this season with a goal in an 8-1 win over Western Dubuque, her first game back.
“It felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders,” Moeder said. “I was back in my happy place, the place I could go to to distract me from the stuff going on in my life. It just felt really good.”
The 2020 season, of course, was canceled for everyone due to the pandemic. Then Moeder tore an ACL in club soccer and had to miss the 2021 high school season, too.
She watched from the sideline as Xavier qualified for the state tournament again, but fell in overtime in the quarterfinals to eventual state champion Waverly-Shell Rock — who the Saints beat for the championship on the same Des Moines field in 2019.
“My teammates made it bearable for me,” Moeder said. “They always picked me up and supported me and made sure I wasn’t alone in my journey.”
As she recovered, her motto was “minor setback for a major comeback.”
She has 11 senior classmates on this year’s soccer roster who are happy to have her back on the pitch, too.
“She’s just awesome,” Xavier senior Brielle Bastian said. “She always lifts everybody up and makes everybody feel super confident.”
After playing as a winger in 2019, Moeder plays in a central midfield role for these Saints, winning the ball and delivering passes underneath attackers like Bastian and Mary Clare Bean. Moeder has five goals and four assists with Xavier off to a 4-2 start.
“Having her experience and just aura and positiveness about the squad again, it’s a real, real boost,” Xavier Coach Chris Higgins said. “We missed her a lot last year. You can see this year, the chemistry that she has with Brielle and Mary Clare Bean up top, you can tell they’ve played for years and years.”
Watching Moeder play and connect with her teammates now, it’s easy to forget they hadn’t played together for a few years.
“It’s been a blessing, for sure,” Moeder said. “I missed soccer a lot. I think just being with my teammates and being able to actually contribute on the field has been really fun.”