by DAVE MARTINEZ
Sky Blue’s newest players are making quite a smash on the international scene.
First, Raquel Rodriguez, the team’s first-round draft pick in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) college draft last month, exploded for five goals for Costa Rica and propelled her country into the semifinal bracket of the Olympic CONCACAF Qualifying Tournament in Texas.
Rodriguez scored three times time in a 9-0 win over Puerto Rico and then added both goals in a 2-1 victory over Mexico. The win sends Costa Rica into Friday’s semifinal match against Canada.
Rodriguez has experienced a storybook life over the last year. She led Penn State to its first NCAA College Cup championship, scoring the game-winner in the final. She was also named the Missouri Athletic Club Hermann Winner as the country’s top female soccer player.
Today, Sky Blue FC defender Erica Skroski was named to the U.S. Under-23 Women’s National Team roster for the upcoming Istria Cup in Croatia. The U.S. U-23 WNT will travel to Croatia for its first overseas trip of the year to play three matches in the eight-team Istria Cup, which runs from March 2-7.
“This is a great reward for Erica and a very important step in her development,” said Christy Holly, Sky Blue FC head coach. “We are delighted that she has this opportunity and have no doubt it will help her push on to the next level, which will be of huge benefit to Sky Blue FC.”
Skroski was taken at no. 23 overall in the College Draft. The versatile defender anchored the Rutgers University back line to its most successful season in program history this past fall, where the Scarlet Knights reached the NCAA College Cup semifinals. She received 2015 Big East Defender of the Year honors and was also named to the All-Big East First Team and NSCAA All-America Second Team. Despite her defensive position, the four-year starter still contributed five goals and four assists on the offensive end as well during her college campaign.