A British connection in the Windy City: Ashleigh Goddard and Rachel Pitman

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.

Email This Story

Three years ago recruiting junior Rachel Pitman took a leap of faith.

Originally from England, Pitman’s choice of coming to Chicago depended on her willingness to embrace something new: a city and culture she hadn’t been exposed to before.

In her ear, however, was a familiar voice – best friend and teammate Ashleigh Goddard.

“I know Ashleigh wouldn’t lie to me and I took everything she said and went with it,” Pitman said. “Coming out here, first of all I was like ‘Oh my god. This is so different.’ Now I’m synced into it. I’m really glad I did this and Ashleigh made me come.”

Goddard’s recruitment of Pitman has paid big dividends, leading to noticeable on-field chemistry between the two and accomplishment of new feats. This season, women’s soccer has gotten off to a strong start with a 8-2-2 record.

Recently, the two friends managed to score two goals in the same game against Villanova, something they have never done while playing with each other.

“We’ve known each other for quite a long time and always had that little connection, so it’s really nice when we come out here and both score,” Goddard said.

Goddard and Pitman are not only friends, but have had the experience of being teammates before DePaul as well. Both were players on the ladies Arsenal team and the English national team.

The time spent together led to a bond that carried over to the States.

“She’s been my best friend for years now,” Goddard said. “She has the same dreams and goals that I do. We both want to play professionally. Over here, you have the best professional league in the world. It’s at least a great stepping-stone to get your foot in the door – get your name out here.”

Initially, adjusting to living in the United States took some time for the two. Even when it came to soccer, there were differences.

“The biggest difference is you have a pre-music warm up list, a national anthem,” Goddard said. “In England, we don’t have that- you just go out there and play. The only crowd we get is our parents.”

Pitman added, “When we go back (to England) in the winter and summer, we play and go ‘Where’s all the music? Where’s our national anthem?'”

If there were customs the two had to get used to, they have put them behind them.

Goddard and Pitman’s dynamic play has been impressive so far. Goddard ranks second in goals scored on the team with four. She also has two assists.

As a defender, Pitman rarely gets the opportunity to score. This season, she has scored two goals, including pulling a surprising move that caught Villanova’s defender off guard.

“I know in the past few games (the ball) has gone far post and no one’s really gone there, so I took a gamble,” Pitman said. “Everyone kept saying to me ‘Why are you up there? Why are you so far up?’ Normally forwards are that far up. I took a gamble and figured why not? Let’s just go for it. I got behind their player and swiped it in.

“I think I did (catch the defense off guard). She was watching me and jogging back, jogging back. I just sprinted away, and at that point she couldn’t get ahold of me because I could just see the ball. I knew all I had to do is glide it into the back of the net.”

This is the last season the two friends will get a chance to play together since Goddard is a senior.

Goddard, of course, hopes their paths collide again in the future after their DePaul days are finished.

“When we came here, this wasn’t a team that was necessarily the best team,” Goddard said. “It was a program that was building and I knew I could be a big part of it, to take it to a higher place we are now. It’s a great stepping stone for us, to make connections and see what happens after that.”