Aug. 12, 2013
CHICAGO – Tina Estrada had to act fast when a big opportunity arrived last month.
Just as she was boarding a flight to Colorado on a recruiting trip, the DePaul assistant women’s soccer coach received a phone call from Blue Demon soccer coach Erin Chastain.
“Erin said I had been nominated for a special NSCAA (National Soccer Coaches Association of America) program and had to accept the nomination<" Estrada said. "The deadline was minutes away. I used the plane’s WiFi and quickly accepted it.”
This is the first year for the NSCAA 30-Under-30 education and mentorship initiative for a select few young, up-and-coming soccer coaches. Estrada, 28, was among the 30 coaches under 30 years of age selected nationwide for the year-long program.
She will receive complimentary registration to the NSCAA Convention and to either the NSCAA Summer Symposium or the NSCAA Advanced Coaching Academy. She will have a $1,500 travel and lodging scholarship to attend those NSCAA educational opportunities.
In addition, she will be assigned a coaching mentor to enhance her growth.
Estrada applied for 30-Under-30 through the NSCAA website and secured recommendations from Chastain and Jerry Smith, her soccer coach when she starred at Santa Clara.
“It meant a lot to have that recognition as an up-and-coming coach,” Estrada said about the program created to support promising young coaches and foster their growth at a crucial point in their vocation. “There are so many talented, young coaches out there all over the country.
“I have to give a lot of credit for this accolade to Erin. When I think of Erin, I think of toughness. Her coaching style is very structured with a tough mentality.
“Jerry Smith is simply a brilliant soccer mind. He advocates patience and possession which is a style I loved to play.”
Estrada finished her collegiate career in 2007 as a four-time All-West Coast Conference honoree at Santa Clara where she also played for Chastain who was an assistant coach with the Broncos.
Estrada had 31 goals and 15 assists for 77 points in her four-year career while leading Santa Clara to four NCAA Tournament appearances and four West Coast Conference Championships.
DePaul was her first coaching job, arriving in Lincoln Park as a graduate assistant coach in 2008 and becoming a full-time assistant coach in May of 2010.
"I am really happy that Tina was selected to the NSCAA 30-Under-30 program,” Chastain said. “She is a high-quality coach, person and soccer mind.
“Through this program, she will be able to continue her development as a coach and leader of young women. I look forward to seeing the impact she will continue to have on our team.”
In high school, Estrada was named a Parade All-American in 2002 and 2003 and played for the USA U-17 National Team prior to her collegiate career.
“My background as a player helped a lot with this recognition, being able to excel at different levels,” Estrada said. “Besides my career at Santa Clara, I also played on the U-16, U-17 and U-19 national teams. Being at Santa Clara helped me become a grad assistant coach at the age of 22.
“I came to DePaul to get my Master’s degree and coach on the side. It was a great opportunity, and I just love this sport. I could never get away from it.
“I would love to someday be the head coach at a top collegiate program. I still have a lot to learn as an assistant coach and hopefully as a head coach.
"But I’m ready to work my way up."