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How a free coaching license course offered to her as a player led Amy Rodriguez back to the Utah Royals

Less than two years after the NWSL, NWSLPA and USSF offered 24 players a chance at a free ‘B’ coaching license comes the first NWSL head coach from the group. Now, the new CBA requires annual funding of such initiatives.

Photo: Utah Royals FC

Tracing the origins of Amy Rodriguez’s coaching career does not require much time.

It was the end of 2021 and the National Women’s Soccer League, NWSL Players Association and U.S. Soccer had collaborated to offer a free B License coaching course to 24 current and former players from the league.

“I didn’t know coaching was going to be in my future,” Rodriguez said on Thursday. “I signed up thinking I wanted to learn more about it, and it was probably one of the greatest decisions I ever made. So, I’m super thankful for the NWSLPA to be able to provide that for me and look at the doors that it’s opened.”

Rodriguez was introduced on Thursday as the new head coach of Utah Royals FC, a team that folded in late 2020 and will begin play again in the NWSL next year as an expansion team. Rodriguez played for and captained the first version of the team during all three years of its existence. She is a two-time NWSL champion and was a top player in the league for nearly a decade, with 39 goals still leaving her tied for 10th on the scoring charts. She won a World Cup and two Olympic gold medals with the United States.

Her coaching experience, however, is minimal, something she readily admits. She retired in late 2021 and spent one year working as an assistant coach for her alma mater, the University of Southern California.

“I think in taking this role, I am going to be drinking through a fire hose a little bit,” Rodriguez said of the Utah job.

According to the club, Rodriguez is currently in the process of earning her A license, which is required to be a head coach in the NWSL.

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