Nov. 8, 2016
By Joanne Norell
NOTRE DAME, Ind. — University of Notre Dame women’s soccer sophomore Rachel Heard had some big shoes to fill. After the graduation of All-American central defenders Cari Roccaro and Katie Naughton after last season, Heard stepped into one of those vacant center back roles and has excelled along with fellow center back, junior Ginny McGowan, and sophomore outside backs Natalie Ward and Shannon Hendricks. The Irish defense has been key to Notre Dame’s success this year, ranking among the nation’s top 10 in shutout percentage (third, 0.700) and goals against average (sixth, 0.428) and limiting opponents to just nine goals on the season. Heard and the Irish will kick off their NCAA Championship run at 7 p.m. ET Friday against SIU-Edwardsville, having secured a No. 2 seed during Monday’s NCAA Selection Show. Heard sat down recently for the most recent edition of Ten Questions.
Ten Questions with Rachel.Heard
1. What has it been like to be a part of a completely new defense that has been so successful?
Well, in the spring we did a lot of work, just working on shape and trying to work together since we were all new to each other and the back line. It was really awesome, actually, to see how we’ve improved from January to May and from then until now. It’s been really awesome to see how we’ve come along.
2. What has been your favorite Notre Dame moment?
I would say when we figured out we were No. 1 in the ACC for the regular season. That was pretty exciting. Everything that needed to happen, happened. It was unbelievable; none of us expected that going in to that game. It was just surreal; really cool.
3. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
Flight. It would just be really cool; you could get places really quickly and you could be above everybody else.
4. Has soccer always been your No. 1 sport?
No. Actually, basketball was the sport I liked the most up until sophomore year (of high school) when I quit. I still liked it more, but I was just better at soccer. Basketball was the one I enjoyed the most.
5. What made you decide to come to Notre Dame?
The Catholic aspect, the family aspect, was very similar to the schools I had attended, like my high school. I just really liked that, the family feel, the pride that everybody has in the school.
6. What is your favorite food?
I made a list of this the other day, actually. I like Mexican food. Mexican food is my favorite. Cheese dip — that’s not even actually very Mexican, it’s very American, but I would say Mexican food is my favorite food.
7. Do you have a pump-up song or pregame ritual?
I have a pump-up playlist, but it will be whatever song I’m listening to at the moment.
8. What’s your song of the moment?
I like “Chill Bill” right now, and “X” by 21 Savage, and “March Madness” by Future.
9. If you could spend a day doing anything, what would it be?
I think it would probably be just hanging out, eating popcorn and just watching movies. I like either comedies or the big picture movies, like the Oscar-nominated ones. I’m really into those. Going to movies is my favorite thing to do outside of soccer, so doing that with my mom or something would be really cool.
10. If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
I’m going to say LeBron James. I think that he’s the embodiment of an athlete. In videos I’ve seen he just looks like an actually nice guy, gives back a lot, funny. I just think that would be a very entertaining dinner to have. I look to up to him; he’s my favorite athlete.