Three Penn State women’s soccer players — Raquel Rodriguez, Mallory Weber and Britt Eckerstrom — were selected in Friday’s 2016 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) College Draft.
Rodriguez, the 2015 MAC Hermann trophy winner, was picked No. 2 overall by Sky Blue FC in New Jersey. The only player picked before her was Virginia defender Emily Sonnett by Portland Thorns FC.
Rodriguez’s selection is the highest-ever by a Penn State player, surpassing former and now current teammate Maya Hayes, who was picked sixth by Sky Blue FC in 2014.
Rodriguez had an illustrious career at Penn State. Not only did she win soccer’s equivalent to the Heisman Trophy, but she also earned the Honda Sport Award, NSCAA Scholar Player of the Year, and was named a CONCACAF Female Player of the Year nominee last season alone.
Rodriguez thanked her family for their unwavering support and Sky Blue for selecting her. She also had a few words for her alma mater.
“I also want to give a special thank you to my school, Penn State University, for giving me the opportunity to come to the United States to play soccer,” the Costa Rican international said in a press release. “Thank you so much for developing me, for supporting me, and just making me a better soccer player and a better professional out of me.”
Rodriguez’s teammate, Weber, was drafted not too far behind her. The midfielder was picked No. 14 by the Western New York Flash.
Weber leaves Penn State ranking 10th in program history in goals (36) and points (101). She is also tied for sixth in assists (29) and ninth in game-winning goals (14).
Weber will be joined in New York by Eckerstrom, who was taken by the Flash at No. 26 overall. She was the first goalkeeper selected in the draft.
Eckerstrom posted 15 shutouts in 2015, pushing her career total to 24 — good for fourth-best in Penn State history. Her record with the Nittany Lions was 61-14-3, finishing with the second-most wins in blue and white.
Penn State coach Erica Walsh was at the draft on Friday, and spoke proudly of the trio.
“Britt, Mallory and Raquel have finished their careers on a high note this fall and were all instrumental in the program winning its first-ever national championship,” Walsh said in the release. “Our community has been blessed to watch them compete on Jeffrey Field over the past four years and they will certainly go down in the record books as three of our program’s best.”