Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Peter Cate

Peter Cate

Honored June, 2008



Peter Cate

A special gift that Peter Cate brought to Santa Fe was soccer. Shortly after moving here in the early 1970s, he began working to establish the Santa Fe Soccer League, which now has provided this healthy and hardy sport to thousands of local players of all ages.

When he was growing up, the dominant sport all across America was football. But Peter admired many things about soccer--that most players stay in motion almost all the time; that equipment costs are minimal; that it is played by both genders. So he learned the sport, and enjoyed it in various places where he lived. An obstacle here, however, was that almost nobody knew anything about it. So he began recruiting and training players and referees.

He coached the program at Santa Fe Prep at a time when only one other school in New Mexico played soccer, and his team had to go out of state for most of its matches. Then year by year, he watched the sport explode--in Santa Fe, in New Mexico and in the USA. In 1981 the New Mexico Activities Association held the first state tournaments for both boys and girls; and locally Peter was a driving force behind city-built fields, organized league play, and teaching parents to understand the game their children loved. He continued to compete himself until age 68, and then served more years as a referee. He is called Santa Fe soccer’s “Godfather.”

Yet there are several more sides to Peter Cate. With his late wife Marsie he ran a bookstore, an arts-and-crafts school and a gallery. He directed the New Mexico Center for the Book for years. He was a long-time volunteer at the Santa Fe Prep library. He has been a mentor to countless young people, on and off the soccer field. He is famous for always remembering them and caring about them.

And in recent years he gained a new title: “Mayordomo of Tatum Lane.” The lane is a short cul-de-sac off Old Santa Fe Trail a few miles south of the Plaza, and from his house at the intersection he went out almost daily, visiting with neighbors, picking up trash, waving at passersby, checking homes for security, getting potholes fixed, and lending a hand any way he could. “I looked forward to driving by,” said a neighbor, “so I could be blessed by his smile.”

Story by Richard McCord

Photo © 2008 Steve Northup