Braudilio Rodigues signed with Tacoma Defiance back in February. A Portuguese winger who burst onto the scene playing NCAA Division II college ball, Rodrigues has traveled unique pathway to professional soccer.
“He's got a certain worldliness about him,” said Defiance Head Coach Wade Webber. “He's a cosmopolitan, international, suave, cool player and frankly, I like just watching [him] play.”
His versatility on the pitch has a lot to do with his experiences playing in multiple countries. Having competed in Portugal, Germany and England, Rodrigues was exposed to different playing styles that he now utilizes in his game.
“It's not just the goals, his game understanding is at a very high level,” said Webber. “It's hard to ask me what position Braudilio plays because I'm not sure I could tell you…. Even when we line him up on the field, we may line him up as a 10 or an 11 but he's more clever than that.”
“He drops into pockets, he combines really well with his teammates, and can play in tight spaces,” added Webber. “He has an eye for goal and intelligence about his movement.”
Rodrigues’ pathway post-Europe brought him to the United States, where he participated in collegiate soccer for two seasons at Franklin Pierce University’s Division II program. His presence on the field for the Ravens was undeniable, racking up 31 goals and 25 assists over the course of 45 matches. Following a 20-goal, 22-assist season, he was invited to the adidas MLS College Showcase, where he caught the eyes of New York City FC, who later drafted him 55th overall in the 2022 SuperDraft.
But it was the Seattle Sounders organization who ended up securing the winger for MLS NEXT Pro side Tacoma Defiance, a team that Rodrigues already considers “home.”
“They make me feel comfortable, they make me feel welcome,” said Rodrigues. “It makes everything easy and makes the environment great for us to train every day, get better and keep succeeding…Great people, great club.”
The midfielder has already made a big difference for Defiance since arriving in February, tallying two goals over the course of five games while “connecting play and creating goals for others,” according to Webber. While his focus is on the rest of the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season and winning trophies with the Defiance, his long-term goal of one day playing for the First Team remains the same.
“Individually, [I want to] keep getting better,” said Rodrigues. “Keep having the results which will put us all in the spotlight and then the main goal is to get to the next step and go into MLS.”
“I think it's a great opportunity for me this year to take that next step to the First Team,” he said. “That's the main reason why [I came to Tacoma Defiance].”
Webber believes Rodrigues’ ambition to play at the highest level is achievable for someone of his caliber.
“We have a limited number of [international] spots and [Braudilio] is going to be one that our First Team might be interested in, so when we take an international player, that has to be part of the calculation,” said Webber. “He's intriguing in a technical sense, in a tactical sense and he adds an element of subtlety, disguise and intelligence that every team needs.”