Railhawks player proposes to girlfriend at game

Posted March 15, 2009 2:03 p.m. EDT
Updated March 15, 2009 3:32 p.m. EDT

— A Carolina Railhawks star player put it all on the line at Saturday's game: He knelt to propose to his girlfriend, who sang the National Anthem, in front of 2,700 fans.

Danielle Fernandez, of Cary, sang the "Star Spangled Banner" to applause, then Caleb Norkus, a midfielder and defender, walked out to her in the middle of the field. Norkus knelt and pulled a ring out of his sock.

He proposed, saying: "I love you with all my heart. You're God's greatest blessing to me. Will you marry me?"

Fernandez kissed Norkus before saying, "Yes," then after he put the ring on her finger, leaped into his arms and kissed him again. Norkus carried his fiancee to the sidelines, holding his hand up in triumph.

The Railhawks also tasted triumph Saturday, a 1-0 win over the Major League Soccer powerhouse New England Revolution.

After the game, the couple headed to a party Fernandez had planned for Norkus' birthday. Instead, it became her engagement party.

After briefly meeting last spring, Fernandez and Norkus reunited when she sang at a Railhawks game in August 2008. They began dating after that second meeting.

Norkus is a Raleigh native who was a standout player for both Sanderson High School and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He also played on the Capital Area Soccer League's 1995 White Elite Team.

Fernandez is a professional singer and model – and a first-year student in the doctoral program at UNC's School of Pharmacy.

They're both active volunteers. Last summer, they traveled on a youth mission trip with G.O. Ministries to the Dominican Republic and facilitated a soccer camp for Dominican and Haitian children. Norkus brought donations of soccer shoes, clothing and equipment from the Railhawks and CASL.

He also works with the Railhawks' nonprofit Spread Your Wings, which helps underprivileged youth in the Triangle.