Sky Blue’s Rocky Nominated For An ESPY

Sky Blue,
Sky Blue FC's Raquel Rodriguez. Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos

Raquel_RodriguezSky Blue FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez has been named a finalist for the ESPY Award for Best Female College Athlete of the Year.

The 2015 MAC Hermann Trophy winner had a stellar fall at Penn State University before being selected No. 2 overall in the 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft. During her senior season, she helped lead the Nittany Lions women’s soccer team to its first national championship while scoring the game-winner in a 1-0 win over Duke University in the final.

“When I found out about the nomination, I was very excited and honored,” Rodriguez said. “To be nominated just means so much to me. 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.”

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Voting for the 2016 ESPY (Excellence in Sports Performance Yearly) Awards is open through Wednesday, July 13, when ESPN/ABC will air the ESPY’s at 8 p.m. that day.

“This is a great honor for Rocky in being nominated for such a prestigious award,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head 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, Top Drawer Soccer Player of the Year, Top Drawer Soccer 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.