Photo by Robyn McNeil, ISI Photos.
The National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) officially announced on Monday that Sky Blue FC midfielder Raquel Rodriguez has been voted the 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year.
“We are absolutely delighted for Rocky in being voted as the NWSL Rookie of the Year,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “This award is great recognition for all of the hard work she has put forth over the past season. Not only is she a fantastic asset to our organization on the field, she is also a brilliant representative for Sky Blue FC off the field as well. She is a key component in a very strong core of players who will continue bringing this organization forward.”
Sky Blue FC made Rodriguez the no. 2 overall selection in the 2016 NWSL College Draft this past January, and the Costa Rica international immediately inserted herself into the Starting XI once preseason camp got underway in March. On the season, she logged 1,461 minutes, making 17 starts over 18 appearances, while her creativity in the midfield played a critical role in the success and tactical flow of the team. Overall, she registered 22 shots on the year, adding a goal and an assist to the offensive stat sheet.
Being voted as the 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year continues a heralded run by Rodriguez over the past 16 months. Last summer, she scored the first-ever FIFA Women’s World Cup goal for Costa Rica in their opening match against Spain before returning to Penn State University in the fall for her senior season. She then led the Nittany Lions to their first NCAA College Cup title, scoring the game-winning goal in the 1-0 national championship match against Duke University. Following the season, she was awarded the MAC Hermann Trophy, which is given to the top collegiate soccer player in the nation, and she was later nominated for an ESPY Award as the Top Female College Athlete. She also continued her international success in February, scoring six goals for Costa Rica during the 2016 CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying Championship to finish the tournament level with U.S. international Crystal Dunn as the competition’s top scorer.
Rodriguez now stands as the first Sky Blue FC player to receive recognition as the NWSL Rookie of the Year. The NWSL awards are voted on by club officials, players and media who cover the league on consistent basis.
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