Sky Blue’s Rodriguez nominated for ESPY award

rodriquez

By TOM SLATER

The collegiate honors for Sky Blue FC midfielder Raquel “Rocky” Rodriguez may not be done.

The first-round 2016 draft pick has officially been named a finalist for the ESPY Award for Best Female College Athlete of the Year.

Voting for the 2016 ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards is now open, and they will resume until ESPN/ABC hosts the show live on Wednesday, July 13, at 8 p.m. ET.

Rodriguez was named the 2015 MAC Hermann Trophy winner after leading Penn State University to its first NCAA women’s soccer championship. She scored the game’s only goal in a 1-0 win over Duke in the final.

A month later, Rodriguez was selected Number 2 overall by Sky Blue in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft.

“When I found out about the nomination, I was very excited and honored,” Rodriguez remarked. “To be nominated just means so much to me. I am grateful to God because there are so many other girls who are deserving of this. The fact that I have been chosen to represent them is very humbling, and it inspires me to keep working hard. Not only is this symbolic to me personally, but it is also a major acknowledgement to all of women’s soccer.”

“This is a great honor for Rocky in being nominated for such a prestigious award,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC coach. “It is nice to see her get recognized after all of the years of hard work she has committed to become the player she is today. She has so many redeeming qualities as both a player and a person, which is why we were so keen on drafting her. We are very excited to have Rocky as part of our organization, and we know the sky is the limit in terms of what she can achieve personally and for the team.”

During her senior campaign in Happy Valley, Rodriguez started 27 matches for Penn State and recorded 18 points on a diversified six goals and six assists. In addition to claiming both the NCAA’s greatest team and individual awards, the Nittany Lions captain was also honored in 2015 as the NCAA Women’s College Cup Most Outstanding Offensive Player, NSCAA Scholar Player of the Year, TopDrawerSoccer Player of the Year, TopDrawerSoccer Best XI First Team, Honda Sport Award winner, NSCAA All-America First Team and All-Big Ten First Team, among others.

For her college career, Rodriguez made 90 starts over 93 appearances, registering 74 points on 23 goals and 28 assists. The 22-year-old has always had a knack for scoring when the stage is biggest, tallying nine game-winning goals over her last three college seasons.

On the international front, Rodriguez has been a member of the full Costa Rica National Team since 2012. The San Jose native proved once again to rise up when the lights are the brightest last summer in Canada, scoring the first FIFA Women’s World Cup goal in Costa Rica history when she buried a 1-1 equalizer against Spain in her nation’s first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup game. Rodriguez has also been nominated for CONCACAF Female Player of the Year accolades the past two consecutive years.

During her rookie NWSL campaign with Sky Blue FC, Rodriguez has made eight starts in eight appearances, registering an assist and 10 shots on the season.