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Costa Rica’s Raquel Rodríguez wins Rookie of the Year award for US soccer league

Decorated women’s football star Raquel Rodríguez continues to add hardware to her already stacked collection of awards. On Monday, the Costa Rican who plays for New Jersey’s Sky Blue FC in the U.S. National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) won the league’s Rookie of the Year award.

Rodríguez, who previously played for Penn State and was the second overall selection in January’s NWSL draft, lived up to her billing in the 2016 season by providing an immediate impact. She made 17 starts in 20 matches for Sky Blue and amassed more than 1,400 minutes over the course of the season.

She scored one goal and registered one assist as her team finished 7-8-5.

Sky Blue ended its season with a 3-1 loss to first place Portland on Sept. 25. The club finished seventh – out of 10 teams – for the year, missing the four-team playoffs that will conclude on Sunday.

Rodríguez is the first player in Sky Blue’s history to be named Rookie of the Year. The award is voted on by club officials, fellow players and media that cover the NWSL.

“We are absolutely delighted for Rocky in being voted as the NWSL Rookie of the Year,” said Sky Blue FC head coach Christy Holly in a news release. “This award is great recognition for all of the hard work she has put forth over the past season. Not only is she a fantastic asset to our organization on the field, she is also a brilliant representative for Sky Blue FC off the field as well.”

At Penn State, Rodríguez was named the NCAA’s Player of the Year in 2015 and scored the game-winning goal for the Nittany Lions in the national championship game that same season.

In just 40 caps for Costa Rica, the 22-year-old from San José has already scored 25 international goals.

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