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Washington State’s Trinity Rodman to bypass college soccer for NWSL career

Jan. 12, 2021 Updated Tue., Jan. 12, 2021 at 8:54 p.m.

Trinity Rodman maneuvers past a defender in a match for the U.S. during a youth national team game against Brazil.   (Courtesy/WSU Athletics )
Trinity Rodman maneuvers past a defender in a match for the U.S. during a youth national team game against Brazil.  (Courtesy/WSU Athletics )

Coach Todd Shulenberger and Washington State hoped Trinity Rodman would take the Cougars’ accomplished women’s soccer program to another stratosphere.

Instead, the talented forward leaves Pullman without having played a single game for the Cougars.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rodman never had an opportunity to lace up her cleats for WSU last fall, and the country’s top recruit has elected to bypass college soccer altogether, registering for the NWSL draft earlier this week, according to ESPN and other media outlets. The Cougars are still planning to play a spring season, but the highly anticipated freshman won’t be part of the mix.

Rodman, a standout for the United States Under-20 national team, is expected to be a first-round pick in the draft, which will take place virtually Wednesday. Unlike in years past, the NWSL is no longer requiring all players to register for its draft, although Rodman was still required to do so as an underclassman.

According to Jeff Kassouf of Equalizer Soccer, only “a couple dozen players” had registered for the draft last week, prompting the NWSL to modify its rules. There are 40 total selections to be made in the 2021 draft.

Under Shulenberger, the Cougars had advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight years in a row leading into the 2020 fall season, which was pushed back to the spring as a result of the pandemic.

Rodman, who spent years playing internationally for U.S. Soccer, was expected to have an immediate impact for WSU, coming off the best season in program history. The 2019 Cougars won a program-record 16 games and made a deep postseason run, advancing to the College Cup before losing to No. 2 North Carolina.

Rodman, a Newport Beach, California, native, was initially committed to Pac-12 powerhouse UCLA before flipping to WSU, where older brother DJ is a forward for Kyle Smith’s men’s basketball team.

“Once DJ went to Washington, I told my mom I’m not leaving California, I’m not going to Washington because she was pushing me, she wanted us at the same school,” Trinity told Pac-12 Networks host Ashley Adamson during an August interview with the Rodman siblings. “… Then I went up to DJ’s school, I got to meet the soccer team, I got to see one of their games, I got to see DJ at school doing his thing and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I want to be here.’ ”

The daughter of NBA Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, Trinity scored eight goals and added six assists, helping the U.S. to the 2020 CONCACAF U-20 women’s championship. Rodman scored two goals in the championship game against Mexico.

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