Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño (white jersey) hopes that her play with Sky Blue FC will inspire young women's players in Costa Rica . (Photo courtesy of Penn State Athletics)
BALTIMORE, Maryland – In addition to doing her best on the field, Raquel Rodriguez Cedeño has another important duty.
After she was chosen by Sky Blue FC as the second overall selection in the National Women's Soccer League college draft Friday, the Costa Rica international quickly grasped the significance of the moment, stating her desire to be an example to young women's players in the Central American country.
"My hope is to be that role model, that in the past my generation did not have," the 22-year-old expressed at the Baltimore Convention Center. "I hope that this just helps grow the game. I want to be that role model and take that much responsibility."
Growing up in San Jose, Costa Rica, Rodriguez Cedeño admitted that she did not have many footballing role models. She knew of U.S. superstar Mia Hamm and made sure she and her father attended the CONCACAF Women's Olympic Championship as a 10-year-old, when Costa Rica hosted the event in 2004.
"I didn't have that soccer role model necessarily," she continued. "I was kind of a dreamer. I kept telling my mom what my dreams were and was kind of hoping that she would tell me good news."
Rodriguez Cedeño is coming off a magical year in which she tallied Costa Rica’s first-ever goal in the FIFA Women's World Cup, helped Penn State to the NCAA Division I championship, won the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Trophy as the top women's college soccer player and was named a finalist for the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s Player of the Year award.
Despite all that success, she is ready for more.
"Yes, yes, it was a great year," said Rodriguez Cedeño. "I'm grateful for that. I will always cherish those memories. But I also feel that was a chapter in my life and a new one is coming. I'm looking forward to that one."
Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly has some lofty expectations for her newest star as well.
“Raquel is truly one of the best players to come through the draft in recent years," Holly concluded. "She has already proven herself at the college level as well as on the international stage. She will be a huge part of everything that we are trying to accomplish in the upcoming season. She is someone who will play a vital role in the success of our team.”