With the Olympics set to begin soon, one former local coach will be competing in Tokyo on the softball field.
“I grew up in Elk Grove, California playing travel ball and just really loved the game. I never really thought it would take me as far as it did right now," Ally Carda said.
A former UCLA Bruin and San Luis Obispo resident, Carda is taking her talents to Tokyo this summer.
“I got a scholarship to play at UCLA and my senior year I got a try out for the national team. We didn't have it in the \Olympics at that point, but I was able to try out for that and made the team," Carda said.
She has been a key piece for the national softball team for years.
“Right when I graduated, I played with the national team, went over and played in Japan, went on all kinds of trips, and I'm on year six of being on the national team,” Carda said.
She was also was a focal piece in helping shape the future of the Cal Poly softball program before moving to St. Petersburg, Florida.
After that, I actually coached at Cal Poly, so I lived in San Luis Obispo for a few years and absolutely loved that, but then just continuing my softball career, our head coach is based out of South Florida, so we do a lot of our training over here on this side," she said.
While coaching was new to Carda, she embraced the opportunity.
“It was a big transition. Obviously, I have a lot of knowledge about the game and love the pitching aspect. I was a pitching coach, but also was able to help out with defense and hitting. Me being able to be where those girls were, I could relate to them. I was younger, but I also have the experience and knowledge, so it was definitely a really cool relationship I got to have with those players," Carda said.
Carda will now use that experience on and off of the field, as well as the advice from a close relationship to help assist her in her quest for the gold.
“My girlfriend, Kelly Kretschman, is actually as well, so it's really cool to separate our relationship and be able to learn from her as a softball player."
The 28-year-old pitcher and utility credits much of her preparation for the Olympics to her time spent living on the Central Coast.
“I spent four years in San Luis Obispo and at all Cal Poly. It is an incredible place to live and go to school and be a part of the community base everywhere in SLO,” she said.
Carda will be competing with Team USA on July 1.