SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – “This is unreal.”
That is the sentiment Utah Royals star Amy Rodriguez uttered Wednesday from her home in California, echoing the feeling of millions of people across the world right now.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Rodriguez immediately drove from Utah to California to be with her husband and two kids, and her car didn’t leave her driveway for a week.
“I obviously had to put my family and my children at first priority and their safety,” she said. “So I immediately came here. I do think that as a professional athlete, I’m doing as best as I can, but I’m obviously being a mom comes first.”
As the mother of 3-year-old and 6-year-old boys, Rodriguez has faced the challenges of keeping them busy while also trying to stay in peak physical shape herself so she can be ready when the National Women’s Soccer League season eventually begins.
“For me as a mom and an athlete, this is extremely hard,” Rodriguez said. “Especially as a mom of two little kids, who all they want to do is go play with their friends, go jump on the slides and do all the fun things that kids are used to doing right now. But I have to keep being the bad guy and telling them no. But we’re doing the best we can. I know they’re in my backyard right now looking for lizards.”
So Amy’s priorities now go like this: “Mom, soccer player, kindergarten teacher,” she said with a laugh.
The NWSL season was suspended after the Royals had just two training sessions. So this has been especially difficult for new head coach Craig Harrington, who was just implementing his system.
“It’s really difficult because I think he came in with a really great plan to hit the ground running,” Rodriguez said. “Unfortunately, his legs got chopped off from underneath him. We had a really good preseason plan right in front of us, but it all got taken away.”
As for the rest of her Royals teammates, they don’t all have the luxury of being around their families right now as they look to return to playing soccer as soon as possible.
“It’s really hard for some of our players as they are in Salt Lake City without family, without their loved ones,” Rodriguez said. “So this is really a time for us to rally together. Soccer is a team sport, and we rely so heavily on the idea of training with teammates. And right now, that’s totally being stripped away from us. But we’re all going to take care of each other after this. We’ll pick up the pieces.”