Figueroa participates in batting practice a week ahead of the team’s opening day games against Lipscomb and College of Charleston.
As the 2020 Troy Softball season quickly approaches, Argentinian Candela Figueroa remembers a time that it seemed like playing Division I softball was just a dream.
“It wasn’t until I made the (Argentinian) national team that I thought maybe I could have the opportunity to play in the U.S.,” Figueroa said. “It was crazy to me, like a dream.”
Figueroa grew up in Villa Clara, Entre Rios, Argentina, where her father coached a travel ball team. However, she was not interested in playing softball at first.
“I remember when I was around 10 or 12 years old, my dad told me to come and start playing, but I didn’t want to,” Figueroa said. “I used to play guitar and dance when I was younger.
“I didn’t want to spend that much time with softball, but finally, when I was 14, I gave it a try, and I don’t regret it.”
Through her time on Argentina’s national team, Figueroa had the opportunity to travel to the Dominican Republic and meet her future coaches at Chipola College.
The coaches at Chipola were in search of a catcher who was interested in furthering her academic and playing career in the United States.
“I am thankful for my coaches at Chipola for taking the risk on me,” Figueroa said. “They didn’t know me, if I could play or if I could help their team, but they took a chance on me.”
In her time as a Lady Indian, Figueroa proved that she was worth taking a risk on. The catcher was named the 2019 Dudley NJCAA Softball Division I Player of the Year after batting a .513 clip with 20 doubles, five triples and 14 home runs and winning a national championship.
As Figueroa gears up for her first season in a Trojan uniform, she is confident that this is where she is supposed to be.
“I feel Troy is a very good place for me because I am very family oriented,” Figueroa said. “Everyone here cares about me because of the person that I am and not the because of the player that I am.”
The Entre Rios, Argentina, native’s dreams come true as she makes her Division I debut next weekend, and she says that she owes this to her dad.
“I am so grateful for my dad coaching me and teaching me to always believe in myself,” Figueroa said.
Figueroa kicks off the season alongside her new teammates on Friday, Feb. 7 where they will take on Lipscomb at 3 p.m. at the Troy Softball Field.