Amy Rodriguez had just won an Olympic gold medal when she discovered she was pregnant. Rodriguez, a 28-year-old forward for the U.S. women’s soccer team known as A-Rod, says her son, Ryan, is the “biggest blessing in her life,” but initially, she panicked. She had no idea how her body would react or how willing she’d be to leave her son to go to training camps and tournaments. “I had no idea how I would do it,” she says. “I just knew I wasn’t ready to be done.”
Having signed with the Seattle Reign in the third iteration of a U.S. women’s pro league, she was expected to be their star forward. Instead, she spent the 2013 season watching the team play without her. In September of that year, a month after giving birth, Rodriguez went to breakfast with the Reign coaching staff. They told her they were eager to get her back on the field and gave her a tiny baby onesie with the team’s logo. “I was like, okay, they are excited about me,” says Rodriguez. “It meant a lot to me.”
One month later the team traded her to Kansas City F.C.
Rodriguez had been traded before; she understood that it was a business decision. “I interpreted it as, ‘Oh, they don’t have faith in me, they don’t think I can come back.’ I was definitely motivated to prove to them, that, ‘Hey, you probably should’ve kept me.’” While her husband Adam had family in Seattle whom the couple had been counting on to help with their newborn, in Kansas City their closest family members would be 1,700 miles away. Adam, a physical trainer, couldn’t go with her. For the six-month long season, they would be forced to live “like a divorced household,”as she put it, taking turns spending time with their son.