Three seasons ago, Chelsea Reid was a freshman, called up to the varsity roster during the stretch run and filling the gap for an injured senior leader. Now Reid is the senior, still making an impact for Nature Coast, as the team’s top scoring threat. “She’s having a senior season, for sure,” Nature Coast head coach Lisa Masserio said. “We have definitely depended on her a lot for scoring, which is similar to last year. She was our leading scorer last year. I think by her being a captain this year and having to take on some of those responsibilities, that’s the part of her game, the leadership that she shows on the field, the leadership that she can show in practice. That’s something that we’re working on, we’re developing with her.
“That’s exciting about her potential as a player at the next level. Because she brings a lot of ability, a lot of speed, a lot skill out there. Being able to get her to have the best senior year possible is what we’re looking for.”
She’s tied with Central’s Emily York for the honor of county’s top goal-scorer with 17 according to Hernandosport.com, and has a team-high four assists, helping the Lady Sharks to a 7-3-1 mark. “I’ve been checking to the ball more,” Reid said. “Definitely checking to feet, and then either taking outside shots or going one-on-one with the keepers is definitely what’s been going on. Just the team, how good we’re playing, it definitely helps me more to get the ball at my feet, which is definitely easier than getting scrappy goals.”
As a freshman she had seven goals and four assists, finishing up 10th in the county despite spending much of the season on junior varsity. Her contributions loomed large when leading scorer Emily Myers went down with a knee injury, and she helped the Lady Sharks advance to the Elite Eight.
“We definitely talk about this every day at practice. That was the probably one of the best times of my life,” Reid said. “That was a really good team to play on. Playing then, it definitely brings you up. How the leaders were then, that’s how I want to be now. Because they were such great leaders, and just how that team played together, that’s how I want our team to play. “The Springstead game was my first varsity goal and just that feeling. I still remember it to this day against Springstead. I was probably the happiest little girl ever. That definitely brought my confidence up. Playing in the Elite Eight, that was just an amazing experience. I wish everyone could have that experience, honestly, because it’s just the best feeling.”
Since then she has embraced the role of scorer. In 2014-15, Reid had 20 goals and 11 assists, good for third in the county. The previous season she tallied 15 goals and seven assists.
“She strikes the ball very well,” Masserio said. “She has raw speed to chase after the ball. She can also make very quick decisions as far as what to do. That’s been something that’s developed in her tremendously as a player, is her ability to think quickly in the game and make the right decisions. It makes her effective as a scorer because the defense can’t depend on her doing the same thing all the time.”
Reid has played competitively for 14 years, and it’s her time with the West Pasco Futbol Club working under Ged O’Connor that led her to committing to St. Leo, where O’Connor serves as head coach. “I’ve been wanting to go there since fifth grade,” Reid said. “I went to camp there and I basically showed up and I was like, ‘I want to play here.’ So I showed (O’Connor) every single day that I wanted to go there. Last year he was like, ‘You can come here.’ So I am signing December 1st. “Ever since I went to camp there, I knew I wanted to go to college for soccer. There’s probably nothing else I would rather do than go play soccer. That’s where I wanted to go. That’s where I had my heart on ever since fifth grade and I got what I wanted. But I worked at it and worked at it.” After putting pen to paper and assuring she’ll continue on at the next level, Reid will go back to work trying to get the Lady Sharks back into regional play. The team repeated as district champion and made it back to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row in 2014, but fell in the district tournament last winter.
“I want our team to be on top,” Reid said. “Districts, that’s all that matters. Nothing else really matters right now. Obviously we want to win. But expectations, we want to be on top.
“The rest of the season I want to beat Springstead. I definitely want to make it into finals and win finals for districts. And I want our team to play as a team and take every game seriously and be on top. And everyone work together.”