nataly rodriguez all-american

A Dream Season

What a difference a year can make. A typical wide-eyed freshman college student, Nataly Porras was just trying to fit in and find her place as she embarked on this new phase of her life at South Suburban College in 2017. For Nataly, her footing was to be found on the soccer field.

“The first year as freshman, you are still trying to learn yourself and get out of your individual ways,” said Nataly. “I wanted my second year to be all about the team while pushing myself to be better.”

That she did.

Nataly scored a goal in every game she played during the 2018 season. There were many days she scored multiple times, and on eight occasions she recorded hat tricks leading to 46 total goals—good for 2nd in the nation for National Junior College Athletic Association Division I Women’s Soccer.

Nataly was voted the top player in Region IV and was named Second Team All-American—the first player in Lady Bulldogs’ Soccer history to earn the honor.

“It was more than I could have dreamed,” said Nataly, now 20, who will transfer to Governors State University and major in criminal justice in the fall. “I had a lot of goals in mind but I just wanted to work harder because it would help the team. I didn’t expect any of this.”

Jose Gonzalez, Lady Bulldogs Soccer Coach, witnessed Nataly’s growth firsthand both on the field and as a person. “She has an ability to think a few plays ahead of everyone else on the field,” said Gonzalez. “Her competitiveness and work ethic are incredible, and she leads with actions.”

For Nataly, the pathway to a dream season started long ago with her passion as a young girl, and continued through her days at Thornton Township High School in Harvey. She believes being a student-athlete at a community college played a valuable role in achieving success.

“I just couldn’t have done it without the college, my supportive teachers and my classmates,” added Nataly. “It feels like I am part of a community.”

And Nataly’s presence will be felt in this community’s record books for many years to come.