Beyond the Jersey: Ashleigh Cade’s Story

PHOTO: ASHLEY CADE

Ashleigh Cade started playing soccer when she was four years old.

The Washington native was noticed by a Ragin Cajun Soccer coaches when she was in high school and playing a tournament in Texas.

“I wasn’t sure if it was for me at first,” said Cade, “But, as soon as my mom and me flew in we started driving and I knew this was the place for me. it felt like home, the people here are super friendly and it just made everything feel like it was just meant to be.”

her family was able to come watch her play her freshman year at UL.

At that time, her father had been experiencing some health issues, but kept his battle to himself.

“After they visited they went home and he had gotten checked out and he calls me and said he had colon rectal cancer.”

Cade’s father underwent chemo but unfortunately, it didn’t help.

“His body didn’t react to it very well,” Cade explained, “The first time I saw my dad in the hospital he was hooked up to ventilators, and that’s not what I had expected. from anyone. Like, My mom and my brother’s didn’t exactly tell me what I was suppose to see or anything. So I think out of all that that is what shocked me the most, like, seeing my dad, like, that was one of the last images I had of him.”

Even though Cade’s father was having a difficult time with treatment, she remembers him always fighting through.

But unfortunately, his battle was getting tougher.

“I was the one pretty much taking care of him at the time. As hard as it was for me it was really rewarding because that time I spent with my dad was one of the best times I think that I will have,” said Cade. “That’s a memory that I’m going to have for awhile. It’s something that’s going to stick with me.”

Just when they thought things were getting better, they got worse.

‘My mom had called me on the night of the Super Bowl and was like ‘We’re bringing you home’ and I was like ‘What do you mean you’re bringing me home? Dad’s fine’ and she was like ‘No, he’s not.'”

Cade packer her bags and flew to her father’s side, not knowing that it would be there last time spent together.

“It wasn’t until, I think, a day after I came back to school that my mom had called me. It was maybe 11:30 at night and she said that my dad had passed away.”

Overcome with emotion, Cade didn’t know how to react.

Thankfully, she had the love and support from her teammates to help her get through the difficult time.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for what I have here. Like, soccer wise and school with the support system.”

Now, every time Cade steps on the field, she knows she’s playing for more than just a win.

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