The Best FIFA Football Awards
- Amy Rodriguez is nominated for the FIFA Puskás Award
- The USA and Utah Royals midfielder scored with a long-range strike after impressive solo run
- Vote now for your Puskás favourite!
An impressive solo run, a long-range strike and a match winner: Amy Rodriguez’s goal for the Utah Royals against Sky Blue in the National Women’s Soccer League on 15 June nominated for The FIFA Puskás Award is a fine concoction of skill and drive.
The FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ winner and two-time Olympic Gold medallist (Beijing 2008 and London 2012) showed great field awareness in anticipating the play, stealing the ball before driving at the Sky Blue defence.
“I was pretty surprised during the goal that I was able to carry the ball so far down the field without feeling too much pressure (from Sky Blue’s defence),” Rodriguez told FIFA.com in an exclusive interview. “I knew that defenders were closing in on me, but I continued to take space and then felt like taking a shot from distance, not really sure if I’d be able to sneak it past the keeper. I was pretty surprised when it hit the back of the net.”
The rest of that match was a grind. The Royals ended up winning 1-0, highlighting the importance of A-Rod’s left-footed strike—only 30 per cent of FIFA Puskás Award winners have been left-footers—as she continues to lead the club, playing in their second ever season, on their quest of qualifying for the NWSL play-offs for the first time.
Her Puskás nomination is the also the first for the NWSL since Lisa De Vanna’s in 2013.
“I would just be flabbergasted (if I ended up winning the award) because honestly I didn’t feel like my goal even rivaled the level of goal-scorers that are also on the list. I’ve watched all ten and my jaw dropped at numbers 1 through 9, and then mine followed (laughs).
“Some people may joke that it’s my humbleness coming out here, but I really didn’t think much of it. It was a crucial game for us to win and in the moment I was stoked to score, but did I think it even deserves the honours it has gotten? Not really. I feel very grateful and very proud to represent the NWSL.
“I believe it won NWSL Goal of the Week, which I was also surprised about, so let alone goal of the year on FIFA’s platform; I’m so honoured.”
Rodriguez should be lauded for her perseverance. The two-time NWSL winner has suffered and recovered from ACL injuries in recent years and is now near the top of the league’s goals chart.
“Anyone who goes through an ACL injury has the same type of journey as A-Rod had,” Royals head coach Laura Harvey said after the match on 15 June. “That first six months back from being clear is always really difficult. This year she’s just been phenomenal. Her work-rate, her ability to move, how threatening she is when she goes forward; there’s not many people in this league who can score a goal like she did tonight.
“It’s so much hard work for them to do that, because running that far with the ball is pretty tiring. She’s one of the best in the world at doing that. I think that’s what she’s created her career off honestly.”
If Rodriguez does go on to win the award, she would set a new record in the category, as her effort would represent the furthest a player has received possession to go on to score (70 metres).
“See that to me is just mind-blowing. I’m honestly so flattered.”
Do you think Rodriguez’s rocket is worthy of the Puskás Award? Then follow the below link to cast your vote!