DePaul Lands Another Soccer Talent From England
May 6, 2011
CHICAGO – DePaul has landed another talented women’s soccer player from England.
The combined efforts of coach Erin Chastain, assistant coach Michele O’Brien and London’s very own Ashleigh Goddard persuaded forward Rachel Pitman to sign a national letter of intent with the Blue Demons.
Pitman has played on England’s U15, U16, U17, U19 teams and is currently in that country’s player pool for the U23 national team.
She helped England finish fourth at the U17 World Cup in 2008 at New Zealand and competed in victories over Nigeria and Japan.
“Rachel is one of my best friends, and when she came to Arsenal Academy (England’s premier soccer program), we lived together as housemates for two years,” said Goddard, a freshman forward who was named to the BIG EAST All-Rookie Team last season.
“She asked me a lot of questions about DePaul. I told her this was a great situation, and I don’t think there is anywhere else as good as this.
“She was contacted by other schools, mainly Hofstra and Northern Illinois. Rachel knew two players at Hofstra and one at NIU.”
But an opportunity to play for a rising program that advanced to the BIG EAST quarterfinals last year was too good to pass up.
“Rachel is an athletic, tall forward who brings a great presence to the front line and in the penalty box,” Chastain said. “We are excited about the level of experience she brings to our team.
“England is making great strides in women’s soccer, and it’s wonderful to be able to bring a player of her caliber to DePaul.”
Goddard can hardly wait for the first time they combine for a goal in a sort of “Royal Connection.”
“She is about 5-feet, 8-inches and she is very fast---faster than me,” Goddard said. “Rachel is very lean, but so strong and very good technically. She is also very motivated and driven.”
Pitman is currently playing for the Bristol Academy senior team and enhances a recruiting class that includes Sarah Gorden of Conant High School, Amber Paul from Rogers High School in Minnesota, Megan Pyrz of Wayzata High School in Minnesota, Nikki Condit from Milwaukee Catholic Memorial and Nina Kondros from Glenbrook South High School.
“In England, we’re more technical, but everyone here is so much fitter,” Goddard said. “When I came here last year, it took some time for me to reach the fitness level of everyone else.”
Did Goddard pass along any fitness advice to her good friend?
“Oh, Rachel is naturally fit, and she will be fine with that,” Goddard said. “She comes with the same mentality as me.
“Arsenal is the top soccer program in England, and you’re not used to losing.
“Rachel will bring that same attitude to DePaul.”