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February 17, 2016

Hall of Fame inductee Amy Rodriguez reminisces on her time with Cal South

Before winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, before scoring the winning goals for FC Kansas City in their back-to-back NWSL championship games, Amy Rodriguez was competing among the best of the best in Cal South.

Even though her playing time with Cal South has come and gone, Rodriguez’s ties to where she first started playing soccer are still strong. And now they will be stronger as the U.S. Women’s National Team midfielder will be among the most elite members of Cal South after being inducted into its Hall of Fame last Saturday in a ceremony in Long Beach.

Growing up in Southern California, Rodriguez started her youth career with the Laguna Hills Eclipse. During her time at Cal South, she won two National Championships with the Eclipse club, as well as forming part of Cal South’s State Team from 1999-2004.  

“When I was just a little girl, I remember getting that piece of mail where it said that I was chosen, one of the lucky ones, to join Cal South,” Rodriguez reminisces. “I could just remember feeling so nervous and excited and really honored. I had no idea that my experience then was going to lead me into what my life has become now.”

“I think my time at Cal South was just an amazing platform for me. They started me off, I got going on the right foot, and I got great coaching and training and I was able to continue my soccer career from there,” she added.

Rodriguez’s talent on the field was obvious to many, especially to Cal South’s Director of Coaching and Player Education, Steve Hoffman. Her talent impressed Hoffman, selecting “A-Rod” to form part of the 2003 Olympic Development Program Team that would win the National Championship.

At an individual level, Rodriguez did not let anyone down, being named the Golden Boot winner after finishing the tournament as the top goal scorer, proving that Cal South’s player development was among the best of the best.

“Growing up in SoCal, it was so competitive, and so tough. You had to be the best of the best,” she said. “When I was selected to play Cal South ODP, I just felt so honored. I knew it was going to be really tough, and it was. The competition in SoCal is really tough, but I think that’s what made me the player that I am and I’m very grateful for that competitive, but strong experience.”

It was because of those experiences that now Rodriguez competes among the best of the best in the country, matching up against top-notch competition in international tournaments. Even though Rodriguez has met the world through her career, she never forgets her experience with Cal South.

“When I look back at my experience with Cal South, I have so many great memories, both on and off the field,” Rodriguez says. “I think my experience was one of-a-kind. I’m so lucky and grateful for the experience that I had. I still have a ton of friends that played at Cal South with me, and those relationships that have lasted these many years are what really mean the most to me.”