FORT WALTON BEACH — Trinity Chastain considers herself fortunate.
Getting recruited is difficult. Getting recruited as goalkeeper is rare. Getting recruited as a goalkeeper in a global pandemic after the coach who originally targeted you steps down the November of you senior year is something else entirely.
But Chastain, a senior goalie from Fort Walton Beach, persisted and signed with Georgia Southwestern State, a public university of fewer than 3,000 undergraduate students in Americus, Georgia, this past week.
“It feels great honestly,” Chastain said. “I’m super excited to just continue playing soccer in college and to play with a good college coach. I’m super excited about that.”
Chastain said she first came in contact with Georgia Southwestern and then-Hurricanes coach Enrique Rodriguez this past summer while playing at a showcase tournament. The interest was mutual, and Chastain took a visit to Americus in September.
“I went and I did an official visit and I got to play with the team and I got to see how their classes work and everything, so it was really awesome,” she said, adding she plans to study pediatric nursing and take full advantage of Georgia Southwestern’s smaller class size.
Fewer than two months later, Rodriguez stepped down to “pursue other professional opportunities, while spending more time with his family,” according to the Americus Times-Recorder.
Chris Cogan, Rodriguez’s replacement, wouldn’t be hired until February. Chastain said it all worked out for the best.
“Some of the other colleges I talked to were like, ‘I know this guy. He’s a really great guy and an amazing coach,’” Chastain said. “When I got to talk to him, he said some really great things. He was like, ‘I want to build this program from the bottom up, and I want you to help us.’
“And he has a really amazing background. He was a goalkeeper himself, so he trains goalkeepers; that was really one of the selling points for me. And he’s an all-around really amazing guy.”
Although Chastain’s stats weren’t readily available, she and the Vikings put together a 4-7-2 record this past season with three clean sheets, and Chastain said her best performance of the year came against Gulf Breeze, the 33rd-ranked team in the state; Chastain had 24 saves.
She said she hopes to improve on those skills she displayed against the Dolphins during her four years in Georgia.
“One of the things that I told the coaches is if I was gonna go there, I wanted to make sure that I improved and that I can continue getting better,” Chastain said. “The most important thing is obviously school, but I want to improve my game and become a better player.”