POINT PLEASANT, W.Va. — Moving on, but not too far from home.
Chelsea Black will be continuing her soccer career in a very familiar location as the Point Pleasant senior signed a letter of intent with the University of Rio Grande on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at the PPJSHS library in Mason County.
Black was a four-year starter with the Lady Knights and tallied over 25 goals and 25 assists in her prep career, which included competition in the both Class AAA and Class AA ranks.
Black — the team captain for the 2016 campaign — primarily served as a striker this past fall, but the four-year letterwinner also has served time as a midfielder and a defender during her PPHS tenure.
A hard-nosed, hard-charging competitor that plays at full speed all the time, Black was optimistic about getting the chance to continue her soccer career at the collegiate level — especially at a place that is close to home.
“It’s very exciting to have the opportunity to play the sport I love at the collegiate level,” Black said. “It’s also nice that it is close to home, so I can come back and watch Point Pleasant’s program continue to grow when I can and they can also come and see me at Rio Grande. The familiarity with the program and home-like atmosphere really were big in me making this decision.
“Coach Daniels really wants the women’s program to be a success like the men’s program, and I am very excited about being part of that challenge over the next four years. I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead at Rio Grande.”
The Lady Knights never amassed more than five wins in any one season with Black on the squad, but her presence played a large roll in the victories that did make their way to Point Pleasant.
Fourth-year PPHS coach Chris Errett has served as Chelsea’s mentor during her high school career, but also coached her at the junior high level before taking over the varsity program in 2013.
Errett believes that Black has all of the tools needed to be successful at the next level and he also feels that Rio Grande is getting a good addition to its women’s program.
“Rio Grande is getting a very well-rounded player in Chelsea. She can play multiple positions and she is willing to fit in and do whatever is needed of her on the field,” Errett said. “She’s very unselfish and she’ll do whatever Tony (Daniels) asks of her to make that program better.
“She’s a hard worker, a good student and a fierce competitor. We hate to lose a player like Chelsea here at Point Pleasant, but Rio Grande is getting one heck of a good person … and we wish her all the best.”
Tony Daniels is starting his second full season as the Rio Grande women’s soccer coach, and Black fully represents the type of player that he is trying to bring in to help turn the women’s team into something similar to what the men’s program is.
“Being in the women’s game for one full year, I’ve come to understand that I need more athletes with high soccer IQs — and Chelsea certainly fits what I am looking for,” Daniels said. “She’s a worker and she has a solid knowledge of the game, and those are attributes that I really think will help her and us at the next level.
“She’s the type of player that would run through a brick wall to get things done. That’s the kind of mentality I’m looking for in trying to build up the women’s program, so we are very excited to be adding Chelsea to the family.”
Black also believes that her trials and tribulations between playing at the triple-A and double-A levels at Point over the years has helped make her a more complete and game-tested player.
In being part of a resurgence within the Lady Knights’ program, Black also feels comfortable with going through some similar challenges over the next four years.
But, despite her individual talents, she was quick to acknowledge that a lot of people have helped get her to where she is right now … and where she will be in the near future.
“We didn’t start out very well at the beginning of my Point Pleasant career, playing against some really quality Class AAA programs during that time. We, however, kept improving against that competition and we gradually got better every season during my four years,” Black said. “I feel fortunate to have had the teammates and coaches that I have had over the years here at Point Pleasant, and they are a big reason for what I am doing here today.
“At the same time, I have been part of building up a program over the last four years — and that is what I am getting ready to go through again. I know what to expect and I know there is a lot of hard work to put in over the next few years, so I definitely feel prepared for the next challenge that is in front of me.”
Chelsea is the daughter of John and Heather Beattie of Point Pleasant.
Chelsea currently holds a 3.0 grade-point average and plans to study to become am X-ray technician while at the University of Rio Grande.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.