Amid yesterday’s news that Amy Rodriguez would be unavailable for the Seattle Reign came a lot of speculation about her immediate national team future. Despite news of her pregnancy, Rodriguez he may be able to play in the current national team camp, we thought. March’s Algarve Cup could still be in play.
Wrong on all accounts. Today U.S. Soccer confirmed Rodriguez has been replaced in national team camp by Chicago Red Stars number one draft pick Zakiya Bywaters. According to the federation’s release, Rodriguez and husband Adam are expecting an August arrival.
Before Rodriguez’s pregnancy was announced, Bywaters had tweeted the news of her surprise call-up. Once it was confirmed Rodriguez would not join the Reign this season, many speculated Bywaters’ invite was tied to a potential Rodriguez withdrawal. Per U.S. Soccer’s release, the Pac-12 Player of the Year was recalled to replace the departing Rodriguez.
Now all the virtues of being available for Tom Sermanni’s first camp get flipped. Coming off a year and a half that saw her role in the national team diminish, the ongoing camp was particularly important one for Rodriguez. Now the 25-year-old misses her chance to impress her new coach and potentially win back some of player time he’s lost. During the next eight-plus months on the sideline, Rodriguez stands to lose ground to players like Tyreso’s Christen Press.
With her recall, Bywaters also enters the picture, with her invite to the Jacksonville camp culminating a banner month for the 21-year-old. The Las Vegas-native was the surprise first pick in this month’s inaugural NWSL draft.
But with the news of Rodriguez’s pregnancy barely 24 hours old, it’s still mentioning: There are big, life-defining issues, and then there’s soccer. Rodriguez will probably lose some ground in the national team over the next nine-or-so months, but she’ll also be starting a family, something which transcends her place in a soccer team. Soon these types of admonitions won’t be necessary, but still in a time which should be happy for family and friends, it’s worth repeating: The USWNT camp is actually a secondary concern.