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Scott G Winterton, Deseret News
Utah Royals FC forward Amy Rodriguez (8) passes the ball as the Royals play the Orlando Pride at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy on Saturday, May 25, 2019. Utah won 2-0.

SANDY — Four years ago this month, Amy Rodriguez and Veronica Boquete were members of their nations’ squads at the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada.

Both were veteran stars, as Rodriguez was making her second World Cup appearance for the United States national team to add to two Olympic Games, and Boquete was Spain’s captain as it made its first-ever World Cup appearance.

With both 28 at the time (Rodriguez is just less than two months Boquete’s senior), it stood to reason the pair would be back at the World Cup this year so long as their teams qualified.

A lot can happen in four years, of course, and as it has shaken out, neither are among the six Utah Royals FC players who are now competing in France.

" The #fifawwc is great but to play is always better. "
Royals midfielder Veronica Boquete

Rodriguez missed the entire 2016 National Women’s Soccer League season as she was pregnant with her second child, and then in the 2017 season-opener, she tore her ACL, meaning she missed virtually all of two consecutive seasons.

Even last year, it appeared Rodriguez could still find her way on to the USWNT for the World Cup, but the team is particularly stacked up front with the likes of Alex Morgan, Tobin Heath, Megan Rapinoe, Rodriguez’s URFC teammate Christen Press and 2015 World Cup heroine Carli Lloyd.

Boquete’s situation is considerably more controversial. Following the 2015 World Cup, she was among the Spanish players who called for longtime national team coach Ignacio Quereda to be fired because of the way he treated his players and what the group felt was poor preparation for the World Cup.

Quereda was ultimately let go, but Boquete has not been called into international duty since 2017.

So now as some of their teammates compete for the biggest prize in soccer, Rodriguez and Boquete remain with URFC, although they’re both involved in the World Cup in a different way. The pair, along with head coach Laura Harvey, are making regular appearances on local Fox 13 to analyze the tournament, and Boquete also spent the first few days of the Cup in France to participate in various events.

Upon her return to Salt Lake City last Sunday, she posted a picture of her passport on her Instagram story and wrote in part, “The #fifawwc is great but to play is always better,” adding information for URFC’s Saturday’s home game against Sky Blue FC.

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On the field, Rodriguez and Boquete have been URFC’s best offensive weapons this season for a team that has struggled to score. Boquete has been brilliant on the ball in the midfield, and Rodriguez has four goals through seven games after scoring just five all of last season as she made her way back from the two seasons out.

“I feel confident in my knee. I feel confident in my play,” she said earlier this season. “I still need to sharpen up, but that’s every soccer player out there. We can always do better and we can always get better. For me, I’m just going to keep pressing on and hopefully keep helping my team win games.”