By Bill Bray
FREMONT – Senior Carter Rodriguez started the summer before his senior year preparing for his final soccer season. Things ended not going quite as planned for the talented young man as coach Ed Baptista the Offensive Coordinator of the football team came calling.
“Coach Baptista asked me if I wanted to come out and kick,” Rodriguez remembered. “So, one day I showed up and just kicked around for fun and he basically told me I was on the team.” “I will be honest with you,” coach Baptista began. “I watched him play basketball and saw how great of an athlete he was. I already knew he was a great soccer player. With our kicker graduating I knew we had to find someone. So, I reached out to him, and he was excited about it. So, he started practicing immediately and kept practicing. It’s given me the opportunity to get to know him on another level. Not only is the kid a great student/athlete, but he’s also an even better human being. I’m glad I reached out to him that summer day! He’s adjusted well from soccer to football, he balances them out very well. He continues to stay focused and do his job. It’s been a pleasure to have him around. He’s a winner! On and off the field,” Baptista concluded
Rodriguez, just five games into the season, added his name to the football record book connecting for eight extra points in a game versus Oregon Clay. “I’m loving being part of the football team,” Rodriguez was quick to say. “Friday night lights including all my great teammates is an experience I will always remember.” The fact that just six weeks earlier he had never kicked a football let alone a point after touchdown in a game situation was an amazing feat. “I have definitely been working on it (kicking a football) very hard,” Rodriguez said. “I feel like I have got it down now.”
He now shares time between his primary sport of soccer and football. “On days we have a soccer game I don’t get to practice with my football kicking at all, but on off days I practice with the soccer team from 3:00 to 4:30 then I head right to the stadium to work on my kicking until around 7:00pm.” To be an adequate place kicker takes learning technique according to Rodriguez. “Planting your feet and kicking the ball exactly where you want it to go takes understanding the position.”
Meanwhile, in his last two soccer games Rodriguez has scored four goals. This number included three goals against Sandusky. His Soccer coach, Alex Coressel mentioned that Rodriguez isn’t in an uncommon spot. “We have had a long line of soccer players who have also kicked for the football team including Nate Domiray, Mikey Contreras, Alec Slemmer and Ayden Carter,” Boys soccer coach Alex Coressel said. “Carter is just a passionate kid who is extremely competitive,” Coressel said. “He will give you all he has and hates to lose. He is the kid that every coach wants in order to bring your team energy and hustle.” Rodriguez’s first experience with organized sports was with soccer. “I’ve been playing soccer since I was four or five years old,” Rodriguez remembered. “It’s always been my top sport. I like being able to run a lot.” All the work is paying off as Rodriguez leads the Little Giants boys’ soccer team in scoring this season.
With all this said, it is wintertime and the basketball court where the real passion lies for the senior. “I always think about basketball,” Rodriguez said. “I never lose the thought of it. Basketball has a special place in my heart.” Watching Rodriguez play last winter, its very easy to see that this is true. The ‘three-point shot’ is his specialty. “I am hoping to attend a college and play basketball that is my goal right now,” Rodriguez said. His coach, John Cahill, also has high praise for his player. “Carter is a great kid who works hard and has a tremendous energy that is contagious,” Cahill said. “He puts winning above all else and we are all glad he is a Little Giant.”
Add to all this, Rodriguez tried his legs on the track last spring. His track coach, John Elder was another coach that had nothing but good things to say about Rodriguez. “Carter came out for track for the first-time last year and right away he contributed,” Elder said. “He was a great teammate and well liked.”
We are all glad that Carter Rodriguez is a Little Giant indeed. Whether he is wearing no. 7 (soccer), 21 (football) or 10 (basketball) or running around the track we all can count on this senior giving 100%.