ATHLETE TO ATHLETE: Adriana Rodrigues
In the second installment, we have one football player, LaMarkus Dennis, writing about different type of futbol athlete – Adriana Rodrigues. Learn about how Adriana picked up the beautiful game, how she came to JU and her reason for playing.

Happy Feet
By: LaMarkus Dennis

Adriana Rodrigues of St. Petersburg Fla. is looking to bring a level of talent of her own to the JU women’s soccer team. This home-grown athlete has been doing what she does best since age three.

With the way paved by her parents, Rodrigues’ dad, Adelino, took her out and taught her the game. He taught techniques an early age, and Rodrigues says she simply “stuck to it.” Her mother, Hortencia, was her personal trainer keeping her in the gym and working hard. Her mother knew what it took to maintain health and great shape to play the game and she instilled this into her daughter.

For her hard work, Rodrigues earned a spot at the University of Florida during the 2010 season. She gained experience through redshirting with one of the premier teams in college soccer before bringing her talents to the First Coast.

At her new home, Rodrigues brought many things to the team that seem to be very beneficial to the sport as a whole. Judging by her attitude and confidence, she seems to be the perfect piece as a teammate. Very vocal with a command presence, sense of humor and ability to turn the fun on and off, she may be bigger than we think.

Rodrigues already speaks of how she enjoys Jacksonville’s small tight knit environment.

With experiences such as playing for the Brazilian National team against Argentina and playing for Portugal’s national team against Armenia, the JU women’s soccer players and fans are eager to see what she has to offer for the next few years.

Rodruiqes may play for hundreds of fans here and overseas as she moves up the soccer ladder, but there is only one person she tries to work hard for when she plays.

“There is but I wouldn’t say it’s personal,” Rodriuges said on overall inspirations for playing soccer. “I really look to God for motivation. I play for Him, I do it for Him. He blessed me with this talent. Being born I was expected to be mentally and physically challenged due to a lack of oxygen to my brain but I came out perfectly healthy and fine. The doctors couldn’t explain what took place but I could. It’s called divine intervention. It was God, Jesus Christ my Lord and Savior who saved me and blessed me in so many different ways and I am very much grateful for that. I don’t think words can express my devotion and appreciation for the man upstairs.”

After listening to her express her beliefs as passionately as she did I couldn’t help but think of another great player at his game, Tim Tebow. The former Florida Gator protégé and now Denver Broncos quarterback shows the same respect for his religious beliefs and carries them out with him on the field every game. It is for this reason that Rodrigues says she has so much respect for him, his game, and his unbelievable work ethic.

It would be such a sight to see if Rodrigues could lead her team in the way that Tebow has led the Broncos. Imagine the buzz that would form around that story.

Hoping to pursue a professional career in soccer, the very talented Rodrigues says she is very much looking forward to her future. If things in her athletic career don’t go as planned, Rodrigues looks to have a career as a sports journalist, keeping her close to what she loves.