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Rodriguez brings international experience to Cowgirl soccer

OSU WSOCC vs Florida.jpg

OSU defender Kim Rodriguez dribbles out from the back during the Cowgirls 1-0 overtime victory over Florida.

A thirteenth-minute corner delivery from Mexico soared into the box to find Kim Rodriguez, who headed the cross into the net to double the lead.

This was Rodriguez’s first goal for the Mexican senior team, scored August 6 in the Pan American Games. She has made four international appearances for Mexico.

Soon, Rodriguez will switch from the iconic green of Mexico back to the bright orange of Oklahoma State for her junior year. 

Head coach Colin Carmichael said players with international experience are big factors.

“It’s a level up,” Carmichael said. “Kim and every other player that goes to that level learn how professional they train, how serious they are and how they look after their bodies.”

The competition players face at the national level far surpasses the college level. The women representing their country often have soccer as their main career and don’t have the added responsibilities of a college student. This gives them more time to perfect their craft.

Rodriguez’s time at the highest level will prove valuable for the Cowgirls.

“It’s a little bit faster, it’s smarter, you have to think quicker so she brings all those things back to our team and makes us better,” said Carmichael

The Cowgirls are looking to improve after an arduous 2018 season. OSU finished with a 10-7-1 record and went winless in its last seven games.

A player with next-level experience, such as Rodriguez, could make a difference. The Big 12 coaches have already voted Rodriguez as part of the 2019 Preseason All-Big 12 Soccer Team.

She led the team with 1,608 minutes played last season and started all 18 games. Carmichael said the workload will not change in her junior year.

“She’s going to play a lot of minutes this season,” Carmichael said. “Her delivery on set plays is fantastic, so if she could chip in a few goals off free kicks and maybe off her corner kicks that would be great.”

Rodriguez has the potential to become a threat in the midfield and create scoring opportunities for the Cowgirls. Last season, she finished with a team-high six assists and netted four goals, including the first-ever goal in Neal Patterson Stadium off of a penalty-kick against Oklahoma. Her set-piece expertise will be crucial for the Cowgirls in the 2019 season.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side for the Cowgirls, Carmichael said that her communication with the defensive-line has greatly improved and will continue to improve.

Rodriguez and the Cowgirls will get their first taste of action in an exhibition game on Friday against Tulsa at Neal Patterson Stadium.

“She came in as a quiet, shy and reserved 18-year-old and now she’s an international starter for Mexico. She sees the game so well so she just needs to speak and make sure her voice is heard and be a leader,” Carmichael said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com