January 23, 2023
Priscilla Contreras, ’21, ’23
Skiing in the Alps and ziplining at speeds approaching 70 mph are typical activities for St. Bonaventure University football goalkeeper Chiara Göttinger, who grew up in an active Austrian outdoors family. am.
Her love of football and her goal of playing at Division I level in the United States brought her to St. Bonaventure. Her friends she’s made and her rural beauty on campus keep her here.
A sophomore in sports management, she said the size and friendliness of the campus reminded her of Pirching am Traubenberg, home to about 2,000 people in the southeastern corner of Austria. Her native language is German, but she has been speaking English since she was in elementary school.
“From the beginning, I felt very comfortable in college,” Goettinger said. “I saw pictures of the campus and knew that Bonaventure would be a good fit for me.”
Gottinger is the goalkeeper for the Bonaz Division I women’s soccer team and was twice named Atlantic Defensive Player of the Ten Weeks for the Fall 2022 season.
“I was honored, but I also didn’t think it was a big deal until everyone on my team was surprised and shared it on social media,” Goettinger said with a smile.
She said the awards and recognition are a great complement to the hard work she and her teammates put in on a daily basis, but added that she doesn’t play for the awards.
“I play for my love of football.”
That passion, along with her determination and guts, is evidenced in her season stats. Gottinger led all of the NCAA Division I with 163 total saves last fall.
“Our coach always said the girls were like sisters, and this season we’ve been able to experience that more than ever. We’re basically together 24/7, no matter what,” Goettinger said.
While on the women’s soccer team, Gottinger found friendships that will last a lifetime. One such bond she has is with her teammate and roommate Elisabeth Ptacek, a sophomore marketing major from Hudson, Ohio.
Gottinger said she met Ptacek and her parents during preseason and felt instantly welcomed when Ptacek’s mother told her, “You are part of our family now.” I remember
Both of Ptacek’s parents play football in college and invite Gottinger to spend the holidays with them. During the season, Gottinger and Ptacek’s families first met when Gottinger’s family traveled to the United States to see Gottinger play.
“She’s not only a great teammate and roommate, but a great friend,” said Ptacek. “I have really enjoyed playing with and getting to know Chiara over the last two seasons.”
Goettinger began his football career at the age of six with the Austrian men’s team. Seven years later she was part of her team of women’s youth competing at the national level in the country and she won her first championship her title at the women’s competition in Styria. After that she played for the women’s team of her Graz club her SK her Sturm and she won her second league championship in 2017/18.she remembers it as a very special time
“It was the first women’s title in the club’s history and the first season in which I did not play at youth level,” she said.
Göttinger has worked with an Austrian football agency to enable him to play in America and has started the recruitment process during the second COVID lockdown.
“At first, I didn’t think I would be a DI player because the agency told me that the schools wanted more American football players and they would likely play in Division II,” he said. Goettinger said. “But only Division I schools reached out to me. I was like, wow, that’s crazy!”
Since then, Gottinger has been able to make St. Bonaventure his home away from home. Her favorite place to hang out around campus when she’s not on the soccer field is Hickey Dinning Hall. She spends a lot of time there with her teammates, working on assignments or just sitting and talking.
“When you go to university in Austria, you go there to really study and then you go home. You don’t play for the university football team or live on campus. is far from home, but it’s still nice here.You can really focus on football and your studies.I love this campus,” said Goettinger.
Gottinger is excited to have a dedicated locker room for her women’s soccer team in her new fundraising campaign, A Bolder Bonaventure: Ignite. Inspire. investment. One of her top campaign priorities is to transform St. Bonaventure’s athletics facilities and ensure a highly competitive Division I experience for all student-athletes.
“There are a lot of things that excite me, but the one that excites me the most is the locker room. As a team, we spend a lot of time in that area. It’s always there, not in the room,” says Gottinger. “If every team has a locker room, it also shows that all teams are treated the same.”
Gottinger is always looking for opportunities to improve his skills on and off the field.
“As a goalkeeper, you’re watching everyone and watching their next move. You can learn a lot just by watching people move,” Goettinger said.
She dreams of one day working at a professional sports club in Europe and interacting more with her fans.
The possibilities are endless for her to continue to shine in her football career.