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FFC IN THE PROS

RODRIGUEZ MAKING MOST OF HIS OPPORTUNITIES

FORMER FFC NPSLer SIGNS WITH USL'S TULSA ROUGHNECKS


BY TOM LEISS
FFC Social Media / Communications / News Director
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @TomLeiss



FREDERICKSBURG, Va. (Monday, Feb. 26, 2018) - Since he was a young kid growing up in Alexandria, Va., Christian Rodriguez has loved soccer. Like many other kids into sports when they are young, he dreamed of one day playing professionally.

If you check the numbers, most of those dreams don’t come true. Through hard work and perseverance, Rodriguez has been one of the exceptions.

In 2015, following a season playing with Fredericksburg FC in the National Premier Soccer League, the 22-year old signed a contract to play with Club Deportivo Futbolistas Asociados Santanecos, more affectionately known as C.D. FAS. Los Tigres, the Tigers, are the most successful club in Salvadoran history with 17 national league titles to their name.It was an amazing opportunity, but something still itched at Rodriguez. He had always wanted to be a professional in the United States, and in January the Tulsa Roughnecks came knocking, back-scratcher in hand.

The Oklahoma side, which are set to begin their fourth season in the United Soccer League - now the second tier in the U.S. Soccer pyramid - on March 14, offered a contract and Rodriguez jumped at the opportunity.


TIME WITH FREDERICKSBURG FC

Rodriguez had several stops before making his way to FFC. He started out at Lee-Mt. Vernon Sports Club, then D.C. United Academy (U16). He then spent time with Dutch club FC Groningen’s U17-U19 teams before returning to play with D.C. United’s U18 team.

Coming to train with FFC was not the easiest option, but it was the was option according to Rodriguez. It also helped that he knew a few of the FFC players already and commuted from the Northern Virginia Area with Simond Kargbo, Rahim Costa-Dorsey and Patrick Sedjro.

“It was a far drive, but we knew to get top training it was going to take commitment, so we drove every morning . . . But it was worth it,” Rodriguez said.

The 2015 campaign with FFC was amazing in itself, but he continued to train with the club when he’d return home in the summer while with C.D. FAS. Rodriguez said that time has been integral to his continued development.

“[The 2015] season was a very good one because the things we learn with Grover are lessons that you carry on for life. The things that he would teach us and the way he trains us really was next level,” he exclaimed. “Something that always stuck up to me was how well he made the training sessions with such detail and always knew how to get you in tip-top shape. Every time I came home for the summer I always got-top level training because of the FFC NPSL program.”


MOVING ON TO EL SALVADOR

His time with FFC also served a purpose. Rodriguez had a trial with C.D. FAS in the works heading into his time with the NPSL side. The training he received over the summer with the team made a huge difference when the time came to impress the Salvadoran side.

“Thanks to Grover’s training I went in the best form as possible and I made the team and signed my first pro contract for three years.”

All the hard work he had been putting in over the years was proving to be well worth. He was now playing professionally for the first time and in front of a dedicated fan base for one of the top teams in the CONCACAF region.

“Putting on the shirt, you always knew you had a huge responsibility of giving your best and it was just an amazing experience,” he said. “I felt so happy to be doing what I loved for a living. I learned a lot; had some great coaches. It was a blast.”

The highlight of his time with FAS was his first season in 2015. Los Tigres advance all the way to the playoff final, with Rodriguez starting nearly every game, including the semifinal and final in front of a crowd of 40,000. FAS would fall 1-0 to Alianza, but those moments were still “some of the most amazing memories” he’s had so far.

However, it wasn't always smooth sailing while with his Salvadoran club. Manager changes and the pressures of playing with a top club and always having to generate good results was tough. There were stretched when Rodriguez lost his starting position and fighting for a spot in the starting 11 wasn’t easy, but he always had the faith in the belief that he could succeed.

“I went through some tough times, but I am thankful for my faith. I really lean on my faith to get me through everything and my close circle that is there for me no matter what, always encouraging me and giving me the encouragement to keep going forward,” Rodriguez said. “Those two things were essential.”

TIME TO FULFILL A DREAM IN THE UNITED STATES

But Rodriguez still had that dream sitting in his head and Tulsa Roughnecks FC had the means to make it happen, so he went for it, signing a contract in January to return to the U.S. to continue his career.

“I was thrilled when the opportunity presented itself to sign at Tulsa. It was honestly a huge blessing because I was working so hard for something to come up in the states and when it happened I was delighted,” he excitedly expressed.

His 33 professional games in El Salvador and the experienced gained in high-pressure moments should serve him well with the Roughnecks. It should also help pushing to continue his development in hopes of taking the next step.

“My future goals in my career are to first have the best season possible with Tulsa and fight for the USL title,” he said. “But, long term I hope to play one day in [Major League Soccer] or play overseas in Europe. Those have always been my goals.”

MY BEST ADVICE

While this was an update on his career, I always find it interesting to ask players who are having success in their careers what their advice would be for any young players who also have dreams of playing at the highest level possible.

With that in mind, I’ll close with some wonderful words from Rodriguez that will hopefully inspire others toward their soccer goals . . . or even your non-soccer goals for that matter.

“My advice would be to fall in love with the ball and to work on your technique because without it you can’t play at the next level. Always spend a lot of time with the ball outside the training ground and always give the best of yourself. “Even if your not the most technical or the most physical or the most fast player, always do your best, your absolute best, and things will eventually go your way. And if you have a dream never give up. If you really want it, never stop fighting and never let anything or anyone stop you. Always be the hardest working player you can be."

MORE INFO & PICTURES

PROFILE



Name: Christian Rodriguez
Age: 22 (DOB: 9/12/95)
Position: Midfield/Forward


CLUB HISTORY

- Tulsa Roughnecks (2018)
- CD FAS (2015-2017)
- Fredericksburg FC (2015)
- D.C. United U18
- FC Groningen U17-U19
- D.C. United Academy U16
- Lee-Mt. Vernon Sports Club (LMVSC) Hawks


















































Q & A

COMING SOON!

CHRISTIAN RODRIGUEZ HIGHLIGHTS





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Email: [email protected]

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