Sitting at the Boys and Girls Club of Alice with a national letter on intent before him and surrounded by his family and friends, reality finally began to set in for Justin Rodriguez.
The Alice High School senior is realizing his longtime dream of playing college soccer.
Rodriguez signed a national letter of intent to play soccer at Schreiner University. As a Div. III program, Schreiner doesn’t award athletic scholarships, but Rodriguez was given the university’s Presidential Trustee Merit Scholarship with Excellence in Rank. The scholarship totaled $74,000 and should cover Rodriguez’s education over the next four years.
“It’s finally setting in… this is really happening,” Rodriguez said. “Everyone who came for my signing and everyone who has supported me, it’s all be an amazing experience for me.”
Rodriguez is currently a defensive midfielder for the Alice Coyote soccer team. He’s a three-year lettermen. As a junior, he was given all-district second team honors and named to the district’s all-academic team. He was an all-district honorable mention as sophomore. Academically, Rodriguez is currently ranked No. 21 in his class.
For Rodriguez, reaching to collegiate ranks is something he’s strived for since be began playing soccer at the age of 4. Aside from playing the sport through the Alice Youth Soccer Association and with the Houston Dynamo club team. Rodriguez has immersed himself in the sport by coaching. He’s coached a handful of Alice Youth Soccer Association teams and several traveling teams. Coaching the sport has become such a passion of his the it’s his goal to earn a degree in sports management and one day return to Alice and coach the soccer team.
“I just feel that when I’m out there and teaching and coaching these kids, it’s a really unique experience,” he said. “Teaching the sport to someone and seeing in their eyes the same passion you have, it’s one of the best experiences I’ve had.”
Rodriguez will report to the university in August, and according to Schreiner head coach Paul Hays, Rodriguez could earn playing time immediately as a center midfielder.