CONCORDIA, Kansas — Cloud County Community College sophomore Chelsea Cordice never envisioned she'd be lined up between the posts as a goalkeeper when she headed out to Concordia from her home in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.
Fast forward two years later and the soft-spoken Cordice, originally recruited as a midfielder, will now get the chance to do so at the NCAA Division II level as she signed her national letter of intent on Monday to play at Salem University next season.
"I had a few years of goalkeeper experience back in high school, but the training was nothing like it was here," Cordice said. "At first, I was a bit nervous about the switch. But then I really got into it and I enjoy the adrenaline during the game."
Cordice, who said she will study Health and Human Performance at Salem, played like a natural in the latter part of the 2018 season, finishing with an 8-1 record in 10 appearances while posting a .889 save percentage.
She finished with a total of 24 saves and tallied six shutouts, helping the T-Birds to a 15-3 overall record and an appearance in the Region VI semi-finals.
Charles Long, the first-year head coach of the T-Birds, said the idea to try Cordice out at goal simply came about as an idea to keep her active while she was hampered with lower body injuries.
"Chelsea played awesome for us and her stats speak for themselves. The team played with confidence while she was in goal and trusted her," Long said. "Part of the reason we even tried her in goal was because she was injured and couldn't run. We thought we'd train her as a keeper because it required less running. She ended up having a great understanding of the game, the lanes and alleys of players coming in to cut angles off, and she has great hands."
Cordice will now join another winning program at Salem, which finished 13-3-1 last fall in the Eastern College Athletic Conference.
She'll also join former Cloud County teammate Isabelle Lones, who transferred to Salem at semester.
With Cordice still being new to the goalkeeper position at the collegiate level there are areas to polish, which Long said gives her a high ceiling over her final two years in Salem, West Virginia.
"Reaction time and communication are probably the two areas she'll still need to work on and I think Salem will help her with that once she starts training again on a regular basis," Long said. "Her ceiling is up to her. She can go as far as she likes because she is very dedicated at it."