Ricardo RodriguezSoccer

Matthew C. Perry, Japan

Last week: Scored two goals and recorded an assist as the Samurai (2-5-2) equalled their entire victory total of the 2006 season by tying Marist Brothers International and beating Hiroshima International on Saturday.

The biggest contributions from Rodriguez, a freshman, did not show up on statistics sheets, coach Mark Lange said. Playmaking and helping set up goals for his older brother, Julio, helped the Samurai tie Marist 3-3 and shut out Hiroshima 8-0.

“Both players have been instrumental in making the Samurai more competitive this season and work well together up front as the brother-strike force, goal-scoring tandem,” Lange said.

Ricardo Rodriguez has three goals and two assists this season; Julio has scored six.

Jen AbelSoccer

Kadena, Okinawa

Last week: Scored three goals in consecutive games as the three-time defending Class AA champion Panthers, thought to be rebuilding after losing seven starters, improved to 4-0 with two victories on Saturday.

Abel, a senior and Pacific record-holder for goals in a season (70 in 2006), scored three times in the Panthers’ 6-0 home shutout of Nago, a Japanese team, then scored three more as Kadena blanked Naha-Nishi 4-0 on the road.

Abel has nine goals and five assists this season.

“She is the main reason” Kadena has begun the season 4-0, with 16 goals in four games, coach Hoa Nguyen said.

“She leads the new and younger players to play hard and pick up a notch. She is the leader and player-coach on and off the field.”

— Selected by Stars and Stripes staff

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