Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Where are they now: Amy Rodriguez
By Pedro Moura
Former USC forward Amy Rodriguez, a four-year starter and national champion for the Women of Troy, is starting for the United States in the 2011 Women’s World Cup.
24-year-old striker Amy Rodriguez’ career was about as good as it gets at USC – complete with a national title and personal accolades, as well as plenty of international competition to boot.
She experienced a brief setback after graduating and being selected first overall by Women’s Professional Soccer’s Boston Breakers, but Rodriguez has settled into a starting role for both her club team and the U.S. Women’s National Team as it begins play in the 2011 Women’s World Cup this week.
Rodriguez helped the U.S. women to a 2-0 win over North Korea in their tournament opener Tuesday. Let's review her past, present and likely future in this mostly-weekly feature appearing Tuesdays on the USC report:
Rodriguez was named Gatorade National Player of the Year as a senior at Santa Margarita High in 2005, so she entered USC with high expectations straight-away.
And she delivered on them almost immediately, earning third-team All-American honors her freshman season and leading the team in goals, points and game-winning goals. It was, statistically, the best of her four collegiate seasons in terms of total points. Her sophomore year was a small step back, but she then took a big leap forward in the fall of 2007 with a 10-goal effort in what ended up being a Cinderella-esque run to the national title for the Women of Troy.
After spending the summer playing in the Beijing Olympics, Rodriguez then returned as a Preseason All-American for her senior year and posted another eight-goal effort, totaling 20 points. She again earned Third-Team All-American and All-Pac-10 honors and was the first Woman of Troy in more than a decade to score three goals in one game.
Rodriguez was one of the hottest names in international women’s soccer coming out of USC, when she was drafted with the No. 1 overall selection in the 2009 draft by Boston. She struggled out of the gate with the Breakers, who dealt her to Philadelphia later that year.
With the Independence, she went back to her goal-scoring ways of years past and led the team all the way to the championship game, finishing with 12 goals, tops on the team and third in the league, and six assists. She has only played in five games so far this season because of World Cup obligations, with three starts, and has one goal so far.
Rodriguez’ Independence are second in the league with a 5-2-3 record with six weeks left in the regular season. She should, at the latest, be able to rejoin them with a week or two left in July, after the World Cup’s over and she’s rested up for a bit.
The future of the WPS as a whole is unknown, but Rodriguez is sure to have a future with whatever women’s professional soccer league ends up making permanent residence in the United States. Still only 24, she has the potential to play in two more Women’s World Cups past the current one and write her own legacy as a top American player historically.
As for right now in Germany, Rodriguez is playing a bit of a different position than she’s used to with the current national team, as Abby Wambach is playing the up-forward role in the starting 11 and Rodriguez is bridging the gap between her and the midfield.
She was taken out in the 75th minute of Tuesday’s opener against North Korea in favor of 21-year-old phenom Alex Morgan, but she nearly scored minutes before that and consistently made the Korean defenders work throughout the match.
Rodriguez and the U.S. next play Colombia on Saturday and Sweden next Wednesday. If the Americans advance out of group play, they’re expected to play either Norway or Australia in a quarterfinal matchup on July 10.