Playing for the National Soccer Team
Soccer: Playing for the National Team
I began playing when I was three years old and as all Brazilians often do, kicking the ball when I was first learning how to walk. When I first learned that you could play professionally and get paid to play—that’s all I wanted to do. Regardless of that sad day when I found out that women get paid MUCH less than men on the field for doing the same thing—I still wanted to play. Regardless of all the bad times I went through and tough injuries I had to overcome—I still wanted to play. Regardless of the times that people actually told me to my face that I couldn't make it, at the end of the day—I still wanted to play.
And play I did. When I was fifteen, I flew in for a one-day trial with fifty girls with the Brazilian National Team Coach watching. There had been trials like these held all over the country. There were only two girls picked from that day from our area—I was one of them. I played for the U-17 Brazilian National Team in the World Cup Qualifiers and trained a bit with the U-20s.
When coaches switched and I realized that my luck might have run out I decided to take my other passport for a spin and tried out with the U-19 Portugal National Team—I made it. After several games playing with them, I then got the final call—up to the Portugal Full National Team.
Regardless of the situation I was in, how many teams I got cut from or how poorly I was treated, I still had this in my back pocket—the desire to make it. I got cut from my college team, transferred and then after a year sat on the bench. Aside from the penalty shot that helped secure our spot in the NCAA tournament that I made, I could sum up my entire college soccer career into one word—awful. Well, several words. Unexpected. Frustrating. Discouraging.
However, I didn't let that phase me—I went on to play on three professional teams for four seasons and here I am today, in the summer before starting my fifth professional season.
Playing for the national team is one of the best things I’ve done in my career and can usually be seen as the top of any player’s career. The best thing about it? For a player, playing for their national team is one of their greatest achievements—well, I’ve been blessed to have done it for two different countries.
Written By: Adriana Rodrigues is a professional soccer player and a coach. She has over twenty years of experience in soccer after having played in a Division 1 University and has represented two national teams, both Brazil and Portugal.