Welcome everyone to the exclusive interview with USSSA Pride catcher Chelsea Goodacre of the National Pro Fastpitch League.
Before making her way to the NPL, Chelsea Goodacre was a member of the Arizona Wildcats where she won many awards and aided the Wildcats to the playoffs multiple times in her College Softball career. While at UofA, Goodacre was multi-time First-team and Second-team All-Pac-12 selection, First-Team All-Pac-12 and Second-Team NFCA All-West Region and finishing off her career at #5 in Arizona history of players hitting home runs at 71 in her career.
Following a successful career at the University of Arizona, Chelsea Goodacre now see’s herself at the pro level at the National Pro Fastpitch League where she signed as a free agent to play for the USSSA Pride. Ple
Justin David Kish: Thank you so much for your time Chelsea, how are things going for you today?
Chelsea Goodacre: Hi Justin, things are good. I am getting into the end of the school year grind as classes are finishing up. It seems as though all projects, papers, and tests just come out of nowhere; but that’s probably just me procrastinating. Anyway, it is nice to get away from my studies for awhile!
Justin David Kish: Take us back to where it all started, how was softball first brought to your attention?
Chelsea Goodacre: When I was very young, probably around 6 and 7, I was a go-cart racer, along with my brother and dad. I loved it because I was competing against all these boys and was winning! I think racing and the feeling of winning is what fueled my passion to compete. One day, when I was 8 years old, my dad took me to a softball field, and we watched some softball, and he asked me if it was something I’d like to try. So I said, sure, why not! It looks like fun! I played wreck ball that season and I was not very good, but my love for the game was established. I was no longer racing go-carts, since there was no time when I was practicing and playing softball all the time!
Justin David Kish: You are a native of Temecula, California and with California having multiple baseball teams what was your favorite baseball team growing up?
Chelsea Goodacre: Well, before I was really into any team per say, I LOVED Albert Pujols. He was, and still is, my favorite player. Not just because of how good of a player he is, but how he is an amazing person outside of the game of baseball. I knew that I wanted to be like him, in all aspects. So, at that time, he was a St. Louis Cardinal, so of course, I became a Cardinals fan. Once he was traded, I jumped ships, just like him and became an Angel fan. Now, being an Angel fan, Mike Trout has become one of my favorite players as well, for the same reasons as Pujols. Watching their friendship and how they succeed and carry themselves on and off the field, inspires me to be the best softball player, and person that I can be.
Justin David Kish: You played your high school ball at Temecula Valley High School. Tell us about your high school softball career?
Chelsea Goodacre: I love looking back on my high school career for many reasons. One being that this is the point in time when I would say I became a solid player and when I truly established a solid work ethic. High School is also one of the reasons I became a catcher. My goal was to make the Varsity team as a freshman. I had been a shortstop my whole life, but I knew they had a senior shortstop who was a good player. So, I thought my best chance was to be as versatile as possible. I knew they needed a catcher, so I thought I would try it out even though I had only caught a couple games before on my travel ball team. I made the team, and never looked back. I caught throughout my career and fell in love with Catching. There are so many more challenges than just the physical aspects of playing the game when it comes to catching. A couple things happened through my high school career which are milestones to me and definitely worth mentioning.
My freshman year, one moment in particular, is a moment I will never forget. My first over the fence home run. I couldn’t believe it when it happened. This, I believe, was a turning point in my career. I loved the feeling of hitting that home run, and I became hungry to get that feeling more often, and now I knew, that I could hit them! Not all milestones are happy though, another turning point for me was when I broke my arm early in the season, my junior year. It doesn’t sound that special, but this point in time was very difficult. I had to learn to be a leader without playing. I had to find ways to contribute to the team without just my bat or glove. This time, taught me that you don’t have to lead with just your skills, you can be a leader, and help a team without ever playing a game. This showed me what being a good teammate is really all about, and how important it is to be one.
Justin David Kish: In 2010 you received a call to be apart of the US-Junior National Team. Take us through the call and what was it like being apart of the 2010 National Team.
Chelsea Goodacre: When I found out that I was invited to the tryouts, I was ecstatic, shocked, and a little frightened all at the same time. This was a few weeks after I had broken my arm, and the tryout date was just 2 weeks after I was supposed to get my cast off. I couldn’t let this huge opportunity go, and I knew that it would be a really difficult task, but I was determined. My dad and I worked every single day, even before my cast was off. I would do one arm drills, and anything I could to get 1% better every day. When the tryout days came, I was so nervous. A few of my future Arizona teammates whom I had never met before were also invited, which increased the pressure to impress them. I was facing the best pitchers my age, and playing against and with the best players in the country.
When the tryouts were over, I remember thinking I did the best I could, but waiting for that email was torture! I refreshed my inbox every 10 minutes and couldn’t think about anything else. I can remember exactly where I was when I got the email, and I could not believe that my name was on the list. I reread the list over and over thinking I was just imagining it. Being apart of that team was a blast. I was playing with the best players my age, which I ended up playing against in college, and a few with in college, and now again in the NPF. I got to experience 2 different countries, Bogotá and South Africa, which were pretty amazing and got to play against the USA team, which was a little scary since those were the best players in the country, and athletes that I looked up to. The achievement of getting on a team of the best players gave me some assurance that what I was doing was on the right track, and it just inspired me even more to become the best that I could be.
Justin David Kish: When you go back and look at your Temecula Valley what is one memory that really sticks out to you?
Chelsea Goodacre: I guess I kind of answered this question when talking about my high school career, but one memory in particular, is that first home run. It is a memory that I won’t ever forget.
Justin David Kish: After displaying an excellent career at Temecula Valley it is now time for college and your recruitment. There were a number of schools ranging from Arizona and Fresno State reaching out to you. Tell us about your recruitment process?
Chelsea Goodacre: When I was 8 years old, and began playing softball, my parents took me to meet some USA players, and games, and they told me about Coach Candrea and the University of Arizona. Learning how successful and dominant the program is, I wanted to be a part of it, since I love to win, and I want to be the best, where better to achieve this than at U of A? To play for the best Coach in Fastpitch! I never wanted to play for any other school.
I started to get looked at by some smaller schools, but my sights were always on Arizona. In the summer before my Sophomore year, Fresno State was very interested in me, and I took a visit there, and at the time, I had not heard from Arizona. Before losing hope on my biggest dream, and committing to another school, we were going to find a way to get Coach Candrea to see me. My hitting coach, Daron Roberts, was a good friend of Right View Pro owner, Don Slaught, who was good friends with coach. We videoed some of my best swings, and we were able to send a video to Don Slaught, in hopes that he would send it along to Coach. Don Slaught loved my swing, and called coach and told him to look at the video. After coach saw the video, he invited me on a visit before even seeing me play in a real game. I fell in love with the school and the team, and everything about it. I hadn’t committed though, since the coaches hadn’t seen me play in person. So the next few months, they came to a lot of my games, sometimes one of the coaches, sometimes all of them. (it was so terrifying). I was actually just talking to him the other day about how he remembers the first time he saw me play, and that he still has that original video of my swing.
One day, I was hitting on a high school field with my dad and hitting coach, and everything was looking great; they decided I should call coach Candrea and let him know how I was doing, so we called, and he actually answered, and after talking a little, he said, “I think its time we make you a wildcat”. My dreams came true. But reality also set in, I need to work every day if I want to be an impact player for the University of Arizona.
Justin David Kish: What was your transition like from high school softball to collegiate softball?
Chelsea Goodacre: Once I committed, I set up a yearlong calendar in my garage, and every day, I would write down what I did that day to get 1% better. I knew that at Arizona they were practicing every day, so if I wanted to go in there and start from day 1, I needed to do more. I went out on days that I knew no one else would be out there practicing, Christmas, New Years, rainy days, any day that I could. (I had some amazing parents to help and allow this).
Practicing every day, sometimes twice a day helped with the grind of College softball. However, I felt a lot more pressure my freshman year of college versus all of high school, knowing we were competing for a National Championship. It is definitely a large jump in level of play, which is hard to deal with, especially since Softball is game of failure. I wasn’t used to going 1 for 3, and that being a good day, so I would say that I was a little too hard on myself.
School wise, the time management was very difficult to adjust to. There just wasn’t enough hours in the day, especially when my body was physically exhausted. It took me awhile to find what worked and finding ways to manage everything I needed to get done.
Justin David Kish: Tell us about your career with the Arizona Wildcats?
Chelsea Goodacre: I could write a novel on this subject! Being an Arizona Wildcat was an amazing four years of my life, though not all of it was great, as with everything in life, there are struggles. My freshman year, I had a very difficult time dealing with pressure, and failing more than I had in the past. I struggled through that, but luckily, I had coach and some great teammates that taught me how to deal with these struggles.
My sophomore year is when I really believe that I had a good idea of what it took to play at that level, and learned to take the failures and turn them into learning experiences. And I felt that each outing even from the beginning of my freshman year, I got a little bit better.
I had some lulls during seasons that felt like forever, and they were hard, but the best part, and one of the reasons I love this game is the feeling when you overcome these tough weekends. That feeling far outweighs the struggle itself. And every struggle that I overcame made me a better player, and helped prepare me for the next struggle that would come my way.
The best thing about my career as a wildcat is the relationships I’ve made. I met so many wonderful people, and made some friends for life. I was surrounded by quality people who just made being there every day that much more enjoyable.
My career made me a great player, but I also think that it taught me life lessons as well. I’ve learned to take what life gives you. If life wants to give you a tough weekend full of rise balls and change ups, its ok, because it will balance out. Coach always told me, “its a game of averages”. So with that, I have tried to take this into my daily life. For every bad day that I have, a good day will come. Coach has taught me so many things about the game of softball, but at the same time, he has taught me about life. I truly believe that I finished my career a better player and person.
One thing that I cannot go without mentioning about my career, is my family. My parents made it to every single game that I ever played. Which is VERY hard to do. They are so dedicated to helping me succeed. Sometimes they were harsh, and sometimes they knew exactly what to say. But I couldn’t have had the career I did, without those two amazing people there to support me every step of the way.
I could tell you so many amazing memories that I have from on and off the field, but to keep it short, my career at Arizona was the best four years of my life!
Justin David Kish: What was one school that you faced yearly that took you and the rest of the Wildcats to your limits?
Chelsea Goodacre: Well, as I think about this, there are many schools, and certain series that really tested us, like the ASU Sundevils, our rival. But one school in particular that we always seemed to play, is Oklahoma. Before I got to the UofA, Oklahoma gave us trouble in a Super Regional, and ever since then, there has been a good rivalry between us. We seemed to play them every year, whether in pre-season or post-season, and it was always a good game. Every game against them has been intense, to say the least.
Justin David Kish: What is one memory that sticks out from the rest with your fellow Wildcats?
Chelsea Goodacre: I could tell you so many great memories, but we would be here for awhile. I would have to say, one that sticks out more than most (there are a few), would have to be my last game at Hillenbrand Stadium. We were playing Minnesota in the regionals, and at this point, the winner went on to Supers, and losers were done. I remember thinking that this could be my last game ever. It was terrifying. The game went back and forth, and we found ourselves in the bottom of the seventh inning, losing 6-4. I had not been very successful at the plate that weekend, in fact, I remember being 0-8 leading up to my at bat. I was up, with 2 outs down by 2, and a runner on base. I hit a HOMERUN! I can remember it so clearly. My very last at bat at Hillenbrand Stadium was a game-tying home run.
I was so excited to rush to the plate to be with my teammates; we ended up winning the game and advancing to super regionals, but that will forever by my favorite softball moment.
Justin David Kish: What does it mean to be an Arizona Wildcat?
Chelsea Goodacre: Becoming a Wildcat and understanding that I was going to be a part of this long tradition of excellence, instilled a sense of pride and honor in me, but it also motivated me to achieve my very best, as those before me had. The many Wildcats before me laid down a standard and benchmark which inspired my heart, my soul and fueled my curiosity about life’s possibilities. And I, too must live up to this and continue the upstanding tradition that was laid before me. So, what being an Arizona Wildcat for life means to me is to always hold myself to a high standard, to work hard to achieve the results I want and do all of this with honor and respect for myself and others. There is no other aspects of life that could ever mean more to me, than this. Being an Arizona Wildcat, to me, is one of the my highest accomplishments, and so very special to me. I am a Wildcat for life.
Justin David Kish: After four years with the Wildcats you were signed by the NPF’s USSSA Pride. Take us through this time for you?
Chelsea Goodacre: I don’t know how to describe this time. At this point in time, when my college career was over, I was devastated. I didn’t know what to do, since softball has been such a huge part of my life. So when I got word that the USSSA Pride wanted me, I was just over the moon. I didn’t have to hang up the cleats just yet.
Then it set in that I would be playing with some former Olympians like Cat Osterman, Kelly Kretschman, and Andrea Duran!! I remember standing in line and getting their autographs when I was young. And now I was about to be on their same team! It was a pretty surreal moment for me.
So, I was still sad that my days of playing in an Arizona uniform were over, but was so excited to start a new endeavor with some of the best in the world.
Justin David Kish: Making the transition from high school to college and now making the transition from college to professional softball. Was this the hardest transition for you?
Chelsea Goodacre: For me, each transition was difficult for different reasons. Going from high school to college, time management was my biggest problem. I was already practicing daily, but the work load of the classes increased dramatically, as did the demand on my body. I had a very difficult time finding the time to do my schoolwork, practice, workout, study, and sleep.
The transition from college into the professional league was more softball related. There isn’t any more of those “average booster” teams, or “easy games” to play. Every game we play is against some the best softball players out there, and each game is a grind. At first, it was hard for me, because every game was a tough game, and that can really take a toll on your confidence levels. I had to realize that I am playing against the best out there, so it will provide a challenge, and I cant take every at bat so heavily.
Since joining the professional league, I believe that my mental game has gotten so much stronger.
Justin David Kish: The USSSA Pride has a number of great players including yourself. You play on a team that features Andrea Duran, Sierra Romero, and upcomer Bianka Bell. What kind of relationship do you have with these ladies and have you all been working together this offseason in preparation for the upcoming season?
Chelsea Goodacre: Your right, my team has some incredibly good athletes and amazing talent. But one thing that I would like to mention that often goes overlooked is how these people are not just amazing softball players, but they are amazing people. Every one of my teammates is such an inspiration to young girls across the country, because of who they are on and off the field.
I don’t get to work with everyone in the offseason, as we are all spread out around the country. So, we all do our own thing and practice regimen’s until May, and then meet up for a few weeks for spring training before the season starts. We do, however, keep in touch, and try to see each other if our busy paths cross at times.
Justin David Kish: Mentioning the offseason. It was news that you are coaching your Arizona Wildcats Softball team as a volunteer assistant coach. Are you coaching the Wildcats this year? What have you been up to this offseason?
Chelsea Goodacre: Yes! I am actually the Graduate Assistant. I am getting my Masters in Accounting here at the U of A. It has been such a blast getting to work with these girls. After I finished my senior season, I didn’t want to leave Tucson or the girls and staff that I consider my family. So, getting to stay on and help these former teammates, and be around such an incredible staff and group of people truly is an honor.
I am also a firm believer that working with these girls and getting to hear the other side (coaching) side of things has helped me become a better player.
Justin David Kish: What have you been doing in preparation for this 2017 season?
Chelsea Goodacre: I have been practicing daily, as well as working out. I have found a men’s fast pitch pitcher who likes to throw and is looking to better his game, so I have been meeting up with him and hitting off of him, and catching for him as well.
Justin David Kish: Any expectations for yourself heading into the upcoming season?
Chelsea Goodacre: My goals for this year are similar to everyone. Be better than I was last year. In particular, I want to be a better baserunner and throw out more runners one the defensive side. Other than that, take it day by day, and be the best Chelsea Goodacre I can be on that given day.
Justin David Kish: Any advice you can give to any aspiring high school and college softball players who want to go the professional route and play pro softball?
Chelsea Goodacre: My advice to any girls out there who want to excel in softball, or in anything really, would be to always give 100%. Even when you don’t want to. I know for me, I always thought, if I want to get better than the people ahead of me, I need to practice and work harder than them. Find a way to get 1% better every single day. And lastly, enjoy every moment. Time just flies by and before you know it, your college career is over, you are in the pros (hopefully) and you are out in the real world. Enjoy the good, the bad and the ugly so that you can truly appreciate your softball career, and what the sport has given you.
Justin David Kish: Last Chance to give shoutouts or anything I would like to say.
Chelsea Goodacre: One thing I will say, is don’t forget to thank your parents or the people who help you get to where you want to go. For me, I could not have gotten to where I am now, without the help of my mom and dad. They are a HUGE part in my accomplishments, and I don’t thank them enough. So be thankful that you have people who care, and want you to be the best you that you can be.
I know this interview is about softball, and I’m sure you have noticed that many times, I also talked about life and other things, but it is just a true indication of what the sport of softball does for people. Softball has made me into the person I am today and has taught me so many lessons that I use in my everyday life. This is a big reason why I think softball is the greatest sport out there, and I encourage all young girls to pursue their dreams in anything they choose to do!
One more thing, don’t forget to watch my teammates and I, this summer in the NPF! GO PRIDE!!