Softball freshman used YouTube to land at dream school
Colin Prenger / Daily Wildcat
As an eight-time NCAA champion, softball head coach Mike Candrea has been through almost everything possible. Learning how to deal with the unexpected is part of the job, but even he was surprised with how freshman standout Chelsea Goodacre came to be a Wildcat.
Goodacre was not discovered by Arizona the normal way — scouting games and reading reports on where the best players are. She made a video of herself practicing and sent the footage to Candrea, who was immediately interested.
“I had seen a video clip on YouTube of her swinging the bat and it caught my attention,” Candrea said. “I went out and watched her play and kind of fell in love with her.”
After Goodacre caught his eye, Candrea did not have to work that hard to convince her to commit.
“As soon as they showed interest, I was all about Arizona, didn’t want to go to any other school except the UA,” Goodacre said.
Goodacre, a California native, dreamt of playing for coach Candrea and wearing an Arizona uniform. At Temecula Valley High School she was named to multiple all-state lists and was both a captain and the team’s MVP. She was also named to the 2010-2011 USA Jr. National Team, an experience Candrea says is extremely valuable.
“Anytime kids can play on that team and play internationally, they mature a little bit, and grow and understand the team concept,” he said. “There’s a huge value when you get to play internationally and get to put the USA logo on.”
When she arrived on campus in the summer, Goodacre was given the reins to the starting catching job for her Wildcats.
“I felt like she had a chance to start right away,” Candrea said. “Sometimes the game gets a little quick on her. She’s still kind of learning the process. I think once she starts settling down, the talent will kind of take over.”
Goodacre has seen major success in a very brief time span, at least for a true freshman in collegiate athletics. But that does not mean there have not been bumps and bruises.
“It’s a totally different game,” she said. “The more I play, the more I realize that high school is a different game from college. I was good in high school and hopefully I’ll be good here.”
Goodacre has started all 11 games this season and is batting .267 with nine RBIs. Her hitting is what first attracted Candrea to her and is still what stands out as he watches her play.
“She hit the hell out of the ball all fall,” he said. “She’s going to be a very good player.”
According to Candrea, apart from her hitting, Goodacre’s next best asset is her voice.
“I like her communication skills, she talks a lot behind the plate,” he said. “She’s got a good arm and handles the glove very well. She’s learning, but she’s got the talent, she just needs to work on getting the game database and getting some games under her belt.”
Goodacre is still very early in her Arizona career, but has the work ethic and drive to continue making her dream of starring at Arizona become reality.
“It proves that hard work does pay off,” she said. “Missing all those high school activities, hanging out with friends, missing school dances, it was all worth it to just be in this Arizona uniform and be successful.”