A Puma sponsored athlete
Amy Rodriguez might tell you she “fell” into soccer…but if you know anything about this star Philadelphia Independence forward, it’s just her being humble. Amy has an Olympic medal under her belt and was the #1 draft pick in the Women’s Professional Soccer league. Next up: The world games in Germany. We checked in with the superstar player to chat about the greatest achievement of her professional career so far.
Takkle: What attracted you to the life of a professional soccer player?
Amy Rodriguez: I guess I eventually fell into it. I’ve been a soccer player since I was five or six. I really enjoyed the game when I was playing it. I was able to get a college scholarship out of it, and that led me to playing with our national team. And then after I graduated college, I got drafted to go play in the professional league, so this whole window of opportunity opened up for me.
Takkle: Who’s your favorite athlete of all time?
AR: I really like Michael Jordan – we have the same birthday. But as an athlete, he’s very inspiring.
Takkle: What did it feel like when you heard you were the #1 draft pick during the 2009 Women’s Professional Soccer Draft?
AR: It was kind of surreal because I never thought that any of this was going to happen. When I got my college scholarship, my parents were so excited and happy for me. Then I was selected to go to the Olympics in Beijing. And again, I just felt very fortunate. I always felt like I was in the right place at the right time with the right coaches and the right people.
Takkle: You share your nickname with the Yankees’ A-Rod….
AR: I actually like it because Andy Roddick is another A-Rod I look up to. So, I think the three of us share a pretty cool name and it’s all fun because we play three different sports.
Takkle: How do you personally get over the disappointment of a loss?
AR: That’s really hard and sometimes it takes longer than others. I think whenever you make a mistake in a soccer game or at practice, you just have to get yourself to move on and being a great athlete is not about sulking in the low moments. I think it takes the ability and the drive to get yourself back on top. So, I always focus on the next player, the next game, or the next tournament and try to work on the things that I need to improve on to play better.
Takkle: You’re known to be a bit of a girly-girl off the field. Is that something you need to change when you’re out there on the field playing or do you feel like it’s part of your overall style?
AR: I think you can be a girly-girl on and off the field. I’m proud to be a women’s soccer player and I’m proud to be feminine and enjoy that. But at the same time, being girly doesn’t take anything away from your athletic ability – or it shouldn’t. I bring a lot to the field everyday – hard work and intensity. That doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna be girly or anything like that.
Takkle: What’s one of the most difficult things about being on the road for games?
AR: When you’re on the road, it’s tough because you’re trying to do the right things that get your body ready for a big match or a big competition. A lot of times it’s finding the right meals, sleeping in your own bed, and those sort of things kind of get thrown off when you’re not at home or you’re not in a familiar place. But I’ve learned to adjust. I’ve played so many games on the road now that my ability to adjust has really been a big factor in me performing well despite having the comfort of being home.
Takkle: What are your favorite TV shows to watch when you have down time?
AR: It’s funny because during the World Cup years, we really have no time to do anything. All the TV shows are Tivo’d. It’s hard to keep up, but recently I’ve been on a reality show kick with shows like American Idol, The Voice, The Real Housewives or Bethenny Ever After.
Takkle: Looking back, what advice would you give yourself as a teenage athlete?
AR: My sister is sixteen, so it’s almost like I’m giving her advice. It’s tough because at that age there are so many different things going on, like school, sports, and your social life. I think you have to learn to prioritize what’s important to you. My family used to always tell me that God and faith are number one, two are family, three is school, four was soccer, and then five was friends. So, prioritize your life and make sure that you’re taking care of the areas that mean the most to you.
Takkle: Have you ever struggled with something in soccer throughout your career?
AR: Yeah, definitely. I think my first year in the pro league I didn’t perform very well. I had a lot of pressure from my coaches and teammates and that was very difficult for me. It was very hard and so I had to learn to overcome that and I had to learn to overcome a lack of confidence. I think when you’re not confident, it’s really hard to play and I had to get through that and it was very tough, but I did it.
Takkle: Do you have a pick-me-up or a confidence mantra?
AR: I guess for myself I’m like, “Get the next one. Go for the next play. Get the next pass.” You can always look forward to the future.
To see Amy in action on the road to Germany, head to teen.com/mydaymylife and check out the soccer star and her fellow players as they prepare for the biggest games of their lives!