Rodriquez signs with Mount Olive College
By Andrew Stevens
Published in Sports on February 10, 2009 1:46 PM
PIKEVILLE -- Believed by many to be the best soccer player to ever come out of Wayne County, Alex Rodriguez has to decided to spend the next four years in the place he's learned to call home.
The former Charles B. Aycock star has chosen to continue his career at Mount Olive College.
"Mount Olive has a good soccer program and the players are really into it," said Rodriguez. "Academically, they have a good program for teachers and also it's close to home. It was important to me to stay close to home."
Rodriguez's career has been marked by four Class 3-A Eastern Carolina Conference regular-season and tournament titles and school records for goals (104) and assists (83). During his four-year varsity career, the Golden Falcons compiled a remarkable 69-15-2 record.
Rodriguez also garnered News-Argus player of the year honors on three different occasions, and was a four-time all-conference selection.
"Alex is I think hands down the best player to come out of Wayne County," said former Aycock co-head coach Byron Adkins. "He can take over a game just like that and when he does it's a great thing to watch. When he turns it on there's no one out there better than he is."
Part of being a rare talent is understanding when to take over a game and knowing when to let the game to you while involving your teammates.
Adkins has watched Rodriguez learn when to take his game to another level and when to incorporate his teammates.
"There's times in a game when I want him to be in charge all the time and there's times when he's sat back and let the game come to him and involved everybody on the whole team," said Adkins. "There's times when you want him to have the ball at his feet during those clutch times to take those shots and to have that responsibility."
When Rodriguez first joined the Aycock program he was a shy, quiet kid ... reluctant to talk anyone. Four years later, his example speaks for itself but Rodriguez has also come to realize when to assert himself vocally.
"When Alex first showed up he was a quiet kid that didn't speak to anybody and I had to yell at him a couple of times," said Adkins. "He's grown from year to year and when you have that much talent you have to be a leader. To have that much talent and not be a leader to me is a waste.
"When you have that much talent it makes other kids believe they can be as good as you are."
Rodriguez's high school soccer career has been over for several months and before long he'll begin writing a new chapter in his already storied legacy. However, he'll be remembered in Wayne County and statewide soccer lore long after he's scored his last goal.
"They'll remember Alex Rodriguez in Wayne County for a long, long time," said Adkins. "Coaches in the conference will remember Alex Rodriguez for a long, long time around here. I think Coach (Jorg) Wagner at Eastern Wayne had a quote in the paper that said 'No one is going to win anything in this county until Alex Rodriguez leaves.'
"That's about the truth of it right there."
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