U.S. Soccer
0

2016 U20MNT NTC Invitational

Carson, Calif.
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At Home on the Outside: U-20 WNT's Isabel Rodriguez Finds Her Place

Isabel Rodriguez didn’t believe she could ever be more excited than she was before the 2015 CONCACAF Women’s U-17 Championship and the ensuing 2016 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Jordan. Youth World Cups represent the culmination of two-year cycles of hard work. Now in preparation for the 2018 CONCACAF Women’s U-20 Championship in Trinidad &Tobago, Rodriguez has reached a new level of anticipation.

While she spent her youth club career playing all over the field, she has now cemented her status as one of the USA’s top left outside backs. The natural left-footer is uniquely suited to the position, and a full fall season as Ohio State’s starter in that position has Rodriguez rearing to go in Couva.

“I would normally play outside back with the U-17s but I definitely wasn’t as comfortable because I was playing other positions with my youth club,” Rodriguez said. “Now I feel a lot more confident. Ultimately, it helped playing there in college and getting a lot of experience.”

The position of outside back has rapidly evolved to require an exceptionally versatile set of skills. With the U-20s, Rodriguez takes on the role of a wing back. While still primarily a defender on the back line, there’s more two-way responsibility. She’ll swing up to make overlapping runs on the attack with forwards and provides an important passing option while still able to quickly transition to defense.

“It’s developed into an awesome position now,” Rodriguez said. “Outside backs get forward a lot. It’s not like you’re just a defender, you’re just an attacker, you get a little bit of both. You’ve got to be strong and you have to have a good personality.”

Rodriguez, known as Izzy to her teammates, stands out as one of the only left-footed outside backs in the current U-20 player pool. When U-20 WNT head coach Jitka Klimkova took the reins of the program in April 2017, that fact -- coupled with her unique skillset -- made her a tantalizing prospect at the spot. 

“We don’t have many left footed wing backs, that’s special and unique. She had everything we needed, we just needed her to play more games,” Klimkova said. “She’s amazing with attack. She’s grown to understand defending responsibilities much better. It’s a lot of decisions she needs to make, even in the defensive phase.”

But at Klimkova’s first camp in charge that April, Rodriguez still didn’t have a locked-in position. Even though she had played outside back with the U-17 squad, as one of the best players at her youth club, she was still accustomed to being utilized in multiple positions. Her club coaches wanted to get her more touches on the ball, and usually played her in the midfield.

That back-and-forth with club and country made it difficult for Rodriguez to get comfortable in any position at times during National Team camps. With college at Ohio State on the horizon that spring, Klimkova recommended that she make the switch full-time to outside back.

“In the younger age group, it’s really good to have more positions to get comfortable with the ball and with decision-making,” Klimkova said. “When you’re older, you should start to specify because you should understand the position 100 percent. If you want to really play well at this position, you need to play the games there. You can watch the games, you can watch the best wing backs, but when you play, that’s the best teacher.”

The results have paid dividends. Though OSU head coach Lori Walker recruited Rodriguez as a midfielder, she afforded Rodriguez the flexibility to switch. This season, Rodriguez started every game for the Buckeyes at left back and earned Big Ten All-Freshman team honors as the team won the conference title. Beyond the on-field results, an entire season playing consistently at one position has raised Rodriguez’s confidence and comfort.

“I definitely got more comfortable because I played in so many more games,” Rodriguez said. “Knowing when to go, when to stay back and even taking more risks now. I developed new techniques. I used to only do one thing and now I can do multiple.”

That experience has Rodriguez set to lock down the left side in Trinidad. While she’s zeroed in on her specialized position, she can continue to impact the entire field. The versatility of Rodriguez’s development grants a keen on-field vision that raises the level of the players around her.

“My play can help others,” Rodriguez said. “I know what their position is and what they do at that position. I can help them with my pass to them or telling them where they need to be. it’s a good quality to have experience with other positions to help you with outside back.”

Rodriguez and twelve others on the roster have experience navigating the CONCACAF gauntlet.  On the precipice of her second qualifying tournament, Rodriguez has arrived in Trinidad more confident- and more excited- than ever. 

“I want to start the games as soon as possible,” Rodriguez said. “Every opportunity is awesome. I’m definitely a lot more confident and ready to go than the last time around.”

 

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Schedule

Results

Date Matchup Result Venue Attendance Goal Scorers
2-1 W Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field; Carson, Calif. Saucedo, Ebobisse
4-0 W Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field; Carson, Calif. Young, Acosta, Ebobisse, Craft
2-0 W Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field; Carson, Calif. Ebobisse, Saucedo

2016 U-20 Men's NTC Invitational

PLAYER POS. HT. WT. BIRTHDATE HOMETOWN CLUB/COLLEGE
D 5'11 170 Salt Lake City, Utah Real Salt Lake
F 5-4 115 Minneapolis, Minn. Villareal CF
D 6-0 162 Norwalk, Calif. LA Galaxy
D 5-9 150 Kearny, NJ. Michigan
F 6-0 165 Glade Spring, Va. FC Dallas
M 5-9 140 San Diego, Calif. Fulham FC (England)
F 6'0 175 Bethesda, Md. Duke
D 5'9 154 Surbiton, England Fulham FC (England)
D 5-11 155 Casa Grande, Ariz. New Mexico
GK 6-4 180 Newport Beach, Calif. Univeristy of California
D 5'9 160 Montclair, N.J. Ohio State
M 6-0 170 Des Moines, Wash. Seattle Sounders FC
GK 5-11 164 Alamo, Calif. Georgetown
M 6-1 185 Little Elm, Texas Schalke (Germany)
D 6'2 185 Arlington, Mass. Syracuse
F 5-7 145 Casa Grande, Ariz. Veracruz
D 6-2 171 Media, Pa. Bethlehem Steel
F 6-3 175 Chula Vista, Calif. Club Tijuana
M 5-10 150 Alexandria, Va. Maryland
F 5'8 148 Berlin, N.J. PDA
M 5-10 140 Bloomington, Minn. UCLA

2016 U-20 Men's NTC Invitational

Danny Acosta

Position:
Defender

Height:
5'11

Weight:
170

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Salt Lake City, Utah

Club:
Real Salt Lake

Mukwelle Akale

Position:
Forward

Height:
5-4

Weight:
115

Birthdate:

Position:
Forward

Hometown:
Minneapolis, Minn.

Club:
Villareal CF

Hugo Arellano

Position:
Defender

Height:
6-0

Weight:
162

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Norwalk, Calif.

Club:
LA Galaxy

Marcello Borges

Position:
Defender

Height:
5-9

Weight:
150

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Kearny, NJ.

Club:
Michigan

Coy Craft

Position:
Forward

Height:
6-0

Weight:
165

Birthdate:

Position:
Forward

Hometown:
Glade Spring, Va.

Club:
FC Dallas

Luca De La Torre

Position:
Midfielder

Height:
5-9

Weight:
140

Birthdate:

Position:
Midfielder

Hometown:
San Diego, Calif.

Club:
Fulham FC (England)

Jeremy Ebobisse

Position:
Forward

Height:
6'0

Weight:
175

Birthdate:

Position:
Forward

Hometown:
Bethesda, Md.

Club:
Duke

Marlon Fossey

Position:
Defender

Height:
5'9

Weight:
154

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Surbiton, England

Club:
Fulham FC (England)

Aaron Herrera

Position:
Defender

Height:
5-11

Weight:
155

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Casa Grande, Ariz.

Club:
New Mexico

Jonathan Klinsmann

Position:
Goalkeeper

Height:
6-4

Weight:
180

Birthdate:

Position:
Goalkeeper

Hometown:
Newport Beach, Calif.

Club:
Univeristy of California

Andrew Lombard

Position:
Defender

Height:
5'9

Weight:
160

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Montclair, N.J.

Club:
Ohio State

Victor Mansaray

Position:
Midfielder

Height:
6-0

Weight:
170

Birthdate:

Position:
Midfielder

Hometown:
Des Moines, Wash.

Club:
Seattle Sounders FC

JT Marcinkowski

Position:
Goalkeeper

Height:
5-11

Weight:
164

Birthdate:

Position:
Goalkeeper

Hometown:
Alamo, Calif.

Club:
Georgetown

Weston McKennie

Position:
Midfielder

Height:
6-1

Weight:
185

Birthdate:

Position:
Midfielder

Hometown:
Little Elm, Texas

Club:
Schalke (Germany)

Miles Robinson

Position:
Defender

Height:
6'2

Weight:
185

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Arlington, Mass.

Club:
Syracuse

Sebastian Saucedo

Position:
Forward

Height:
5-7

Weight:
145

Birthdate:

Position:
Forward

Hometown:
Casa Grande, Ariz.

Club:
Veracruz

Auston Trusty

Position:
Defender

Height:
6-2

Weight:
171

Birthdate:

Position:
Defender

Hometown:
Media, Pa.

Club:
Bethlehem Steel

Brandon Vazquez

Position:
Forward

Height:
6-3

Weight:
175

Birthdate:

Position:
Forward

Hometown:
Chula Vista, Calif.

Club:
Club Tijuana

Eryk Williamson

Position:
Midfielder

Height:
5-10

Weight:
150

Birthdate:

Position:
Midfielder

Hometown:
Alexandria, Va.

Club:
Maryland

Isaiah Young

Position:
Forward

Height:
5'8

Weight:
148

Birthdate:

Position:
Forward

Hometown:
Berlin, N.J.

Club:
PDA

Jackson Yueill

Position:
Midfielder

Height:
5-10

Weight:
140

Birthdate:

Position:
Midfielder

Hometown:
Bloomington, Minn.

Club:
UCLA

Team GP W L T GF GA GD Pts.
USA 3
3 0 0 8 1 7 9
Japan 3 1 1 1 4 2 2 4
Panama 3
0 1 2 0 4
-4 2
Costa Rica
3 0 2 1 0 5 -5 1

USA Schedule

Date Match Time/Result Venue
June 29 Panama vs. Japan
0-0
Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field
June 29
USA vs. Costa Rica
2-0
Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field
July 1
Japan vs. Costa Rica
3-0
Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field
July 1
USA vs. Panama
4-0
Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field
July 3
Costa Rica vs. Panama
0-0
Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field
July 3
USA vs. Japan
2-1
Glenn "Mooch" Myernick Field

2016 U-20 Men's NTC Invitational Statistics


Record: 3-0-0

Player

GP

GS

Min.

G

A

Pts

Y/R

Acosta, Danny
3
3
187 1 0 2 1/0
Akale, Mukwelle
3 1 111 0 0 0 0/0
Arellano, Hugo
3 1 104 0 0 0 0/0
Borges, Marcello
2 2 180 0 0 0 0/0
Craft, Coy 2 1 88 1 0 2 0/0
De La Torre, Luca
2 2 145 0 2 2 0/0
Ebobisse, Jeremy
3 3 230 3 2 8 0/0
Fossey, Marlon
3 2 170 0 0 0 0/0
Herrera, Aaron
2 1 100 0 0 0 1/0
Klinsmann, Jonathan
2 2 180 0 0 0 0/0
Lombard, Andrew 1 0 23 0 0 0 0/0
Marcinkowski, JT 1 1 90 0 0 0 0/0
Mansaray, Victor
3 0 48 0 0 0 1/0
Robinson, Miles
3 3 270 0 0 0 0/0
Saucedo, Sebastian
3 3 229 2 0 4 2/0
Trusty, Auston
3 3 247 0
0 0 2/0
Vazquez, Brandon 2 0 45 0 1 1 0/0
Williamson, Eryk
3 3 258 0 0 0 1/0
Young, Isaiah
3 2 170 0 1 1 1/0
Yueill, Jackson
3 0 95 0 0 0 0/0








































Own Goal

0

Totals

3
3 270 8 6
22 9/0

Opponent Totals

3 3 270 1 0 2 8/1

2016 U-20 Men's NTC Invitational Goalkeeping Statistics

Player Name

GP

GS

Min.

GF

GA

SO

GAA

W-L-T

Klinsmann, Jonathan 2
2 180
4 1 1 0.50 2-0-0
Marcinkowski, JT
1 1 90 4 0 1 0.00 1-0-0









Totals

3
3 270 8 1 2 0.33
3-0-0

Opponent Totals

3 3 270 1 8 0 2.67
0-3-0

Updated through July 5, 2016


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