Columbia River senior Yaneisy Rodriguez wasn’t prepared to settle. After decommiting from the University of Nevada last fall, she received several offers from schools around the region. She considered playing professionally in Mexico if the right opportunity didn’t present itself.
Ultimately, her dream offer came. On Thursday night, she announced her commitment to play soccer at the University of Washington.
“It’s been stressful; there’s been a lot of ups and downs,” said Rodriguez, who pioneered the Chieftains to a girls soccer title in the fall. “But I’m really thankful for where I am now.”
Rodriguez is a versatile weapon — she played as many as six positions in a single game last season — but is expected to help bolster the Huskies’ defense at the next level. Don’t be surprised to see her slip into a midfield role at some point, though.
Rodriguez scored 25 goals and 16 assists in her senior season, including three game-winning goals in the state tournament. She was also named The Columbian’s All-Region girls soccer player of the year.
“Pac-12 was always the dream from the beginning,” said Rodriguez, who plans to study business administration in Montlake.
It was Rodriguez who had to make that happen. She had frequently reached out to Washington’s former coach Lesle Gallimore during her initial recruiting process, but never heard back. When the Huskies’ announced new coach Nicole Van Dyke was heading the program, Rodriguez’s mother encouraged her to send one more email.
“My mom’s persistence really helped,” Rodriguez said. “Just knowing all the hours I put in and all the hours other people put into me, I wanted to reach for greater and not just limit myself to just be OK.”
Van Dyke was able to see Rodriguez play once, at a March camp before the coronavirus pandemic shut down sporting events around the country.
“I’m lucky she let me be a part of the team,” said Rodriguez, who was inspired by Van Dyke’s journey from Cal State Bakersfield to Washington. “To see someone like that be resilient and become a head coach at such an elite school was awesome and very appealing.”
The Huskies finished 12-7-2 last season and made the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Also arriving in Montlake next season is Vancouver native Tina Ellertson, who joins the team as an assistant coach.