Goad has played in some of the most competitive leagues and against some of the best players in the world as the only Spanish-based Matilda in the Primera División this past season.
After a long season, Beattie Goad talked to The Women's Game about her football journey, the Matildas and her life experiences so far.
Beattie Goad's life in football
- Beattie Goad earned her first senior Matildas cap in 2021.
- Prior to that she had taken the leap to the U.S college system, with Stanford University, after three season in the W-League.
- Goad's career has seen her play in some of the top leagues and against the best players in the world.
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The Matildas had not played a game in 14 months. It was Tony Gustavsson’s first game in charge. Australia were already down a goal against a merciless opponent and to make matters worse in the fifteenth minute Karly Roestbakken was injured.
Into left back stepped Beattie Goad. While she had left Melbourne City five years earlier as an attacking midfielder, for many Australians this was the first time they had seen her play in half a decade.
Goad’s impressive performance against Germany was one of the good news stories that day in a the Matildas 5-2 loss.
For those who have follower her career this was not unexpected. However, for the now 25 year old, even after a strong first season in Germany with SV Meppen the call up was unexpected.
“It was a bit of a surprise for sure,” Goad said to The Women’s Game from her home in Spain.
“Although I had a good season in Germany. I was playing at left back which was my first real go there.
“I was so excited, and it really meant the world to me. I had worked so hard for so long. So, it was really nice to put on the green and gold jersey.
“It was just a very cool experience and a lot of hard work culminating in those two games.”
For Goad that journey to the Matildas was one that took had taken five years after leaving Australia. Back home she had become the youngest player to feature in a W-League Grand Final and was Melbourne Victory’s youngest ever goal scorer, at the time.
After a season with Melbourne City, Goad was offered the chance to play in the famed U.S college system with one of the top schools and soccer teams, Stanford University. It was a decision that risked her visibility for national team selectors, but one that she grasped.
Life as a college athlete is an experience that Goad cherished, and one she hopes that other young Aussies consider.
“What I got out of that system was so much, and such a holistic experience,” she says of her time at Stanford.
“You’re in an environment where you get to develop your game as a player, but you’re always developing as a person.
“I knew if I stayed in Australia, I would have to split my university time with my soccer time, and I think I would have found a difficulty in that.
“Sometimes you’re two different people in different spheres. Sometimes it’s hard to merge them in Australia, and I also think at some point players have to prioritise one over the other.
“In the US you’re able to play on a team and share values with your team outside of the game.
“Maybe you’re in the same history class as your teammate. It’s really cool to go to soccer practice and then also have these relationships with your teammates outside of soccer. I think that develops you into a more holistic person.”
“Stepping out of your comfort zone, living in a different country, you just grow as a human being. You become more independent.
“There’s so much out there. There’s so much that Australia has to offer but also a lot that the US has to offer.
“Then you have the best of both worlds. I think it just opens your world up.”
Making the connection
Goad’s world definitely has opened up. Since her time at Stanford, she has played professionally in Germany and Spain. Although she had always wanted to travel, and had spent time as a Young Matilda, the concept of football being a gateway to the world had not occurred to her until she took that first step.
“I definitely did have this view of I wanting to see the world, but I don’t think I made that connection with football early on.
“I spent a lot of the time studying (in high school). Then I spent my spare time a little bit with friends and mostly with soccer.
“At that age, I was so tunnel visioned. I just really wanted to do well in school, and I really wanted to do well in soccer.
“I wanted to travel the world, but I think I was too naïve to connect the three.
“It was not until I considered going to the U.S that I realized I could.
“I didn’t the connect the three until I went to the US. I think my last season at W-League, I was on the team with Aivi (Luik). She was one of the reasons I went to college because she went through the system. I was just following her career as well.
“She’s an idol for me for sure. I think meeting her and talking to her and considering going to the US is when it all clicked for me.”
Goad’s potential was always obvious, she left Australia as a 19 year old skilful attacking midfielder and has developed into a versatile and experienced footballer. She has built a reputation in two World Cup winning countries, Germany and the United States of America, and has spent the last year with Tenerife in Spain, who are among the favourites at next year's competition.
Tenerife finished fifth in the Primera División, just four points behind third placed Real Madrid. They also made the Spanish Cup Semi-Final. Goad enjoyed her time in Spain, but described it as a “mix of things” overall.
“It was very challenging because I didn’t play as much as I did in Germany,’ she reflects.
“The team was also quite different from my team in Germany and my team at Stanford. That was a bit of a difficult transition.
“On the flip side, living in Tenerife has been really awesome.
“The island itself is incredible and there’s so many things to see, to hike. So many beaches to discover.
“Soccer-wise, it was challenging. I grew so much which is a positive out of it all, and I learned a lot more about the left back position because I only played one season at left back in Germany.
“The player that played at left back here in Tenerife was our captain and a very experienced Spanish player. That was really nice to learn off of her and see how she did things.
“Having the opportunity to live in a place like this and play professional soccer is a pretty cool experience.”
One of her biggest challenges was the language barrier. During her stint in Germany, her club SV Meppen organized and funded German lessons. Goad spent four hours a day learning the language and became fluent.
Learning Spanish independently while establishing herself as a footballer proved more difficult.
“That was a struggle for me at the beginning,” she says.
“Trying to figure out if I just let all my German go, I was trying to juggle both. That was challenging, the immediate switch between two languages.
“I thought that I could just do the same thing that I did with my German, that was not the case.”
"It's just a feeling of complete unity"
The exploits of runaway leaders Barcelona has made Spanish women's football one of the focal points in women’s football with the Euro’s and World Cup on the horizon. Goad is one of the few Australian players to have encountered them up close.
“They are just unstoppable in La Liga,” she says.
“I think that comes down to a few things. The first is that they really seemed like a team.
“That was something I experienced at Stanford, everybody had each other’s back. When you’re on a team like that you can just feel it.
“It’s just a feeling of complete unity. You can feel that amongst that team, they feel like a very unified team.
“I love watching them. Playing against them is really difficult. They break you down because their players are so good.”
𝘼𝙨𝙞Ì 𝙛𝙪𝙚𝙧𝙤𝙣 𝙡𝙤𝙨 3 𝙜𝙤𝙡𝙚𝙨 𝙙𝙚𝙡 𝙩𝙧𝙞𝙪𝙣𝙛𝙤 𝙙𝙚𝙡 𝙂𝙧𝙖𝙣𝙖𝙙𝙞𝙡𝙡𝙖 𝙚𝙣 𝙃𝙪𝙚𝙡𝙫𝙖 âš½ï¸💙— Stadium Tenerife 🏴 (@StadiumTF) November 8, 2021
El @UDGTenerife ganÃ³ el sÃ¡bado 0-3 al @sportinghuelva con goles de @mjperezglez, @cmartiin9 y #BeattieGoad, 🔝pic.twitter.com/UBMDxda2q2
She also makes a point that Barcelona have a system set up to develop players from a young age. They can loan them out to other clubs to gain first team experience, and then bring them back to reintegrate with the senior squad. Her season in La Liga has shown her that Barcelona’s success is no accident.
Goad stresses the importance of team unity in successful sides. It is something that she saw in Barcelona, and something she experienced at Stanford University. She says it can be developed through the difficult and the fun moments alike.
“I think just building this program where you feel really unified with its values and what it wants from you and what you can give the program.
“One thing that brought us together in the US was really tough conditioning sessions, that really brings players together.
“You go through these tough sessions together and look at each other and think ‘wow we really did that together.
“Off the field, it is things like team dinners, team events. It’s easy when you live together on campus.”
"There is really so much it can give you"
Goad is due to depart Tenerife in the off season. Although her time in La Liga had its challenges, the experience of absorbing another culture and it is football lessons is something she relished.
👋âšªï¸🔵MartÃn-Prieto y Cubedo finalizan su etapa en el Granadilla Egatesa— Radio MARCA Tenerife (@RadioMarcaTfe) June 3, 2022
âš½ï¸🏟ï¸ Beattie Goad tambiÃ©n dice adiÃ³s tras una temporada en el equipohttps://t.co/3DplheSWeD pic.twitter.com/IAAAcIEw7o
“You get to discover a new culture and a new way of living.
“Learning soccer and a different style in a different country is really rewarding.
“You get to feel as though at some point it is reflected in your own game. Your own style becomes a combination of the different experiences.
“I think my relationship to soccer has developed over the years. Earlier on I would have set my mind more to learning the style of football.
“I think as I’ve grown, I’ve realized what is out there other than soccer.
“I’ve understood more the value of being immersed in a different culture as well.”
It has also given her a valuable perspective on the upcoming European Championships. She tips Spain and Germany to do well, but thinks that France has a chance at the title.
At the present time, her next destination is unknown. A move back to Australia is not impossible should the right opportunity arise.
Whoever she signs for will be getting a skillful, multi-positional player with elite experience across four competitions, three continents and almost 10 years of elite football.
Goad believes that the player and person she is now has been shaped by her move to Stanford. She would love to see other young Australians take the same path as herself, Aivi Luik, Tegan Micah and fellow Stanford star Amy Sayer.
“I really hope more girls take the US pathway and fight off any fear of missing home. There’s so much out there.
“There’s really so much it can give you.”
Goad does not pretend her journey was an easy one. She says that her time abroad has taught her that being a well-rounded person is important and can improve you as a player.
“Sometimes it is difficult, you will miss home.
“If you have a part time job or project or hobby that can help.
“We’re so much more than soccer players. We’re strong females with other goals.
“Unfortunately, at this point you really do need a backup plan if you’re a female athlete. Developing those skills and other interests is also important and often overlooked.
“Who are you off the field, and how does that help you on the field?
“Don’t ignore other hobbies. Invest in yourself as a person as well as a player because it will pay off.”
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