Tacoma Defiance announced the signing of Braudilio Rodrigues on Tuesday. The Guinea-Bissau-born Portuguese attacker joins after shredding the NCAA Division II with Franklin Pierce University. In 2022 he helped lead the team to a 25-1-0 record as they won the DII national championship, recording 20 goals and 22 assists in 26 appearances including an assist in the championship final. Rodrigues, 23, spent two years at Franklin Pierce University and had 31 goals and 25 assists in 45 appearances in that time.
Beyond helping the team succeed and win a championship, Rodrigues earned plenty of accolades for his 2022 season. He was named the United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Year, the Ron Lenz National Player of the Year — an award given to the top men’s soccer player in Division II — and was also made the All-East Region First Team, Division II Conference Commissioners Association All-America First Team, and won All-East Region Player of the Year.
As a youth player, Braudilio spent two years in the academy with Benfica between 2011 and 2013, spending time with the u13 and u15 teams. Beyond that, he bounced around academies and lower-division clubs in Portugal before making his way to Franklin Pierce.
Rodrigues is an attacking player, capable of playing as forward or midfielder, particularly out wide where he wreaks havoc on defenders in space. His combination of technical skill, change of pace, and a sort of gravitational pull toward the goal helped him to rack up goals and assists in the college game as well as USL League 2. He played with the Western Mass Pioneers in USL2 in 2022, making 11 appearances and scoring 10 goals and 3 assists.
Braudilio Rodrigues’s performances in USL2 and college did draw attention from MLS. He was invited to the league’s college showcase in December, and was then drafted by NYCFC in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft with the 55th overall pick. After spending time in preseason with NYCFC he was eventually released, so if the Seattle Sounders wanted to sign him to an MLS contract there would likely need to be a deal made to acquire his MLS rights first.
Rodrigues’s signing brings the Defiance roster to 17 players. The team is currently preparing for the 2023 MLS NEXT Pro season with upcoming preseason games against University of Portland (March 3 at Merlo Field), Whitecaps 2 (March 10 at the National Soccer Development Centre) and Cavalry FC (March 18 at Starfire).
Current Tacoma Defiance roster by position (age)
Goalkeeper: Wallis Lapsley (25)
Defender: Cody Baker (19), Blake Bowen (22), Stuart Hawkins (16), Elias Katsaros (21), Gio Miglietti (23), Travian Sousa (21), Hal Uderitz (23)
Midfielder: Juan Alvarez* (18), Chris Aquino (16), Frank Daroma (21), Antonio Herrera (18), Georgi Minoungou (20), Fito Ovalle (25), Braudilio Rodrigues (23), Paul Rothrock (24)
Forward: Eythor Bjørgolfsson (22)
*Out on loan