Rodriguez modest off the field, but making noise on it for Blue RaidersSeptember 26, 2005 · By Adam Parker, MT Media Relations
Her talent level is very high, but it's as much about her approach to the game and practices as it is what she does within each match.
"She brings a positive attitude when she steps on the field and you know what to expect from her," says Middle Tennessee Head Coach Aston Rhoden.
Game after game, those expectations are met and exceeded by her performance on the field. Just nine games into the 2005 season (almost halfway through the season) Rodriguez has already scored nine goals, nearly half of the 21 goals scored by her team so far.
And her name appears in the top 20 list of players from NCAA Women's Soccer Division I teams in three different categories. As of September 18, Rodriguez is tied for 12th place for goals, tied for 13th place for assists, and tied at 10th place for points.
Despite her success and lofty national rankings, Rodriguez keeps her eye on the ball, not the stats.
"I think sometimes when you see those numbers, you start to try too hard instead of relaxing and doing what you know how to do," says Rodriguez.
Not only is Rodriguez making waves nationally with her game in 2005, but she also is on the verge of setting numerous career records at Middle Tennessee. The junior forward's 25 career goals are good for third on the all-time list and just one behind former teammate Danielle LaDuke's 26. She's just three goals behind Laura Miguez' all-time mark of 28.
The crafty Rodriguez also is second place on the career points list at Middle Tennessee with 61. Already this season, she ranks eighth on the single-season list for goals scored at Middle Tennessee (9), and her 24 points are currently sixth in a single season.
Fiercely competitive during the game, yet extremely modest away from the soccer field, Rodriguez follows the examples set by her parents (Javier and Angie Rodriguez) during her early years as a soccer player.
"My parents were the type of parents that just watched the game. They never yelled at anybody or anything like that," says Rodriguez, whose father had played on club teams in her hometown of Dallas before she picked up the game at the age of five.
Rodriguez' parents continue to be a great audience, as well as a valuable source of inspiration, even when they watch Rodriguez' Middle Tennessee games on videotapes mailed all the way to their residence in Dallas, Texas.
"If I'm having a problem, he's (dad) someone I can call and say, 'this is my problem, what can I do to make it better,?'" Rodriguez points out.
Even though Rodriguez is dead serious about soccer, she plans to take her studies, not her soccer game, to the next level when she graduates. Once she gets her degree in science, she plans to pursue a medical career, hopefully as an X-ray technologist in an ER unit. But in the meantime, Rodriguez still has a season (at least 11 more games) filled with tough competition to look forward to, including Sun Belt Conference powerhouses North Texas and Denver. When fans, teammates, and opponents see Rodriguez on the field they can all expect the same thing - an exciting game and a player who always gives her best.
Middle Tennessee returns to action when it opens defense of its regular-season Sun Belt Conference championship at Western Kentucky Sunday at 5 p.m.
Follow the Blue Raiders on Twitter @MTAthletics for continued updates.
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