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World Cup Winner A-Rod Retires From NWSL To Join College Coaching Ranks

One of U.S. soccer’s greatest strikers is hanging up her boots to join the coaching ranks. Amy Rodriguez, who won at every level, retired from the NWSL on Friday to join her alma mater, USC, as an assistant coach.

A-Rod, as the 34-year-old is affectionately known, won an NCAA title with USC, two Olympic gold medals and the 2015 Women’s World Cup. She led FC Kansas City to back-to-back NWSL titles, scoring 64 goals in 160 matches in her professional career. 

The SoCal native now returns home to join Jane Alukonis’ staff with the Trojans. Alukonis, a 33-year-old former Duke player and UCLA assistant, was hired on Jan. 20. 

“I want to thank USC for providing me with the opportunity to come home,” Rodriguez said. “Choosing to retire was an incredibly difficult decision for me. However, continuing to give back to the game was always a priority of mine and there is no better place for me to do that than here at USC. This university has given me so much and now it is my time to give back.

“I am excited to start working with Jane and figuring out how I can complement her coaching style to create the best USC women’s soccer team possible. I plan to roll up my sleeves and get right to work. Bringing another national championship to USC is my ultimate goal!”

Rodriguez led USC to its first national title in 2007 and was the first pick in the 2009 WPS draft. Throughout her USWNT career, she racked up 30 goals and 19 assists in 132 appearances. Perhaps her most memorable moment came when she provided the assist on Carli Lloyd’s gold-medal clinching at the 2008 Olympics. 

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have Amy on the coaching staff,” Alukonis said. “Amy has won titles everywhere she has been — as a player at USC, with the USWNT at the Olympics and a World Cup, and in the NWSL. Needless to say, she is a champion. I know Amy will bring her expertise and give every bit of her heart and soul to the program. I can’t wait to see her push the players to their max on a daily basis. She is the perfect coach and mentor to help USC players achieve their big dreams.”

A-Rod played for seven different clubs during her pro career, with her time in Kansas City the most productive and overlapping with her World Cup win. She was traded to North Carolina in July. 

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