Sky Blue FC was confident they could get Penn State's talented striker Raquel Rodriguez with the third overall pick in this morning's National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) draft in Baltimore.
But just to make sure, two hours before the draft, they swapped the rights to Danish international striker Nadia Nadim with Portland to move up one slot in the draft. After Portland selected Virginia's Emily Sonnett first, Sky Blue wasted no time in picking Rodriguez.
A popular interviewee the last few days, she was on hand to thank her family, Penn State and Sky Blue FC.
Listed as a midfielder/forward, Rodriguez propelled Penn State to its first women's NCAA soccer championship with the lone goal in 1-0 win over Duke in the final. The Costa Rican international scored six goals and assisted on six others her senior year. She finished her career with 23 goals and 28 assists.
She was named the Missouri Athletic Club (MAC) Hermann Award winner as the top female collegiate player and was a first-team All American pick her senior year.
Besides the numbers, Rodriquez is just a fun player to watch. She has a slashing style and is not adverse to making long runs out of the midfield, taking players on 1 v 1. She can also slide back in the midfield and play solid defense as well. She may be the most rounded player in this year's draft.
"The things i want to improve on how vocal I am on the field," said Rodriguez. "Communication doesn't come naturally to me. I think I can contribute with long shots and creating plays. I can get balls from the backline and making through balls and dangerous passes to distribute the ball.
The first round draft pick capped a wild six months for Rodriguez. Last summer, Rodriguez helped Costa Rica qualifty for the Women's World Cup in Canada and scored her country's first-ever goal in the tournament in a 1-1 draw with Spain.
With Nadim gone and expected to be signed by Portland, Sky Blue FC will be looking to replace her goals. She scored seven in six games in 2014 and followed up with six goals in a full season in 2015. The attractive part of having Nadim on the squad is she would not have missed any games for the Olympics this summer.