'Rocky' rising to the challenge

With her ability to impact the game at both ends of the field, Raquel 'Rocky' Rodriguez has certainly enjoyed her first taste of the Westfield W-League following her sophomore campaign in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL).

The Costa Rican international has showcased superb vision and work rate and chalked up three assists (the equal-highest in the league) in her first six appearances in a Glory shirt.

However, the midfielder admits that the new competition has taken some adapting to.

"The biggest challenge for me has been how direct the game is here," she said.

"Everything was new and it took some time to adjust being so far from home, but my teammates and staff are amazing and have made me feel welcome and a part of the family since day one.

"The team has been very professional in providing support on and off the field, so this has definitely made the transition easier."

Raquel Rodriguez in action for Costa Rica

 

Despite the obstacles, which included travelling to Costa Rica to take on Mexico in November, Rocky has gone from strength to strength.

She netted a dramatic stoppage-time winner while on international duty and has become an integral part of Bobby Despotovski's title-chasing side through her tough tackling and quality distribution.

The Penn State graduate has also been full of praise for the rugged, hard-fought nature of the W-League.

"I think the game here in Australia is very physical," she said, "so the feisty and competitive ingredients are there which makes it very entertaining.

"You really never know who is going to win and with several teams between one and three points away from each other, every game is so important."

Rocky Rodriguez

 

Having won the Rookie of the Year award in the NSWL with Sky Blue FC in 2016, it has certainly been a bright start to her professional career for the dynamic number 10 who feels that she is still developing and refining her style.

"I think I am in a stage of my career where I need to define what kind of player I am," she said.

"In the past, I’ve played throughout the midfield, both in an advanced and deeper position and with my national team I've even played as a forward sometimes.

"I am defining my style and my position, kind of my “soccer identity". You can’t really measure this, it is more of a mindset for me that needs to settle in before I set any goals going forward in my career."

With a tackle-success rate of 84.6% and passing accuracy of 72.1%, Rocky is certainly making her mark on the league and will be hoping to continue her fine form in the second half of the season.

Glory host Brisbane Roar at Dorrien Gardens this Friday in a top-of-the-table clash that promises to be one of the games of the season.

Grab your tickets through Ticketmaster here: http://bit.ly/2BNHseW

#CREATEDESTINY