By Lela Nargi
With the Women’s World Cup of soccer kicking off in Canada this coming June, two-time Olympic gold medalist and FC Kansas City forward Amy Rodriguez has been spending the winter getting in shape, in the hopes she’ll make it on to the final roster. That’s meant grueling weeks away at training camp with the rest of the potential team. She alternates these with time at home with husband Adam Shilling—a former All-American water polo player for the University of Southern California and now an athlete-focused physical therapist—and their 2-year-old son Ryan, under balmy skies at their home just east of Laguna Beach.
“When I was pregnant, we wanted to find a community with a lot of kids,” says Rodriguez of her and Shilling’s choice to settle in mountain-rimmed, ocean-close Ladera Ranch. “My best friends in my wedding were the friends I met when I lived at home in Lake Forest. I wanted that for my son: a happy childhood! And there’s a good vibe here for raising a family.” The town’s proximity to Rodriguez’s parent’s house, Shilling’s PT office in Rancho Santa Margarita, and all the amenities of the OC—from beaches and parks to play spaces and yes, Disney—make this the perfect base in the hectic life of a professional-athlete family.
What’s a normal day like for you?
Amy Rodriguez: It is chaos! Even when I’m not at training camp, Adam is working 11-hour days, so it can be hard for me to find time to do my job, which is to work out. Right now, I’m doing two, sometimes three team workouts a day. We get these sent to us and follow the regimen, mostly of weightlifting and running. A lot of times, I drive to my parents’ house in Lake Forest, drop Ryan off, work out, then pick him up in time for him to have lunch and a nap back at home. I’m always stressing about the clock for what I have to do, but I try to keep him on a pretty consistent schedule.
Adam Shilling: I drive to my PT office, where I see many athletes: high schoolers from Santa Margarita High School, college students from USC and UCLA, professional baseball and football players. I usually have Thursdays off, though, which I spend at home.
What does each of you do for fun with Ryan?
Amy: Having a boy is mostly about getting active and outside, so he can burn off a lot of energy. Mission Viejo has an awesome lake I pull Ryan around in the bike trailer. The city of Lake Forest just built a new sports park with a tot lot. I’m trying to teach Ryan to kick the soccer ball. He does quite well! If the weather is bad, we’ll go to the Big Air Trampoline Park in Laguna Hills. We also have a membership to the Gymboree Play and Music Center in San Juan Capistrano and Ryan loves to crawl and climb on everything there. He used to have a biting and hitting problem and it’s been great for him to learn to socialize with other children.
Adam: I like to take him to the parks, and jogging in his stroller, or take him to the pool in our community.
Amy: They’re a cute pair! Last summer, Adam took Ryan swimming at the pool every day. One day they came back and Adam had taught Ryan to do a back flip in the water. He’s trying to get him to be a swimmer—with my full support!
Adam: I want him to be as comfortable in the water as possible, if for no other reason than safety. If he happens to decide he likes water polo one day—that’s great!
What do you do on those rare days the three of you get to be together as a family?
Amy: We just got over an issue with eating sand so we’re taking Ryan to the beach more—we’re really blessed with great weather here. Aliso Creek Beach is a fun one to go to; we’ve had a few barbecues there. And Strands Beach is great for biking, since it has a paved pathway along the beach. We don’t really eat out much, because I’m in training, so we tend to cook a lot. Although I think Ryan has to learn how to dine out at some point, and experience that world outside our home. But we do have Disneyland passes—Ryan is learning the names of all the characters, and he can run there, and get all that energy out.
Adam: In the afternoon, we hang out with neighbors.
Amy: We have a street full of kids. Our neighbors had a baby boy exactly one month after us, so our boys have become great friends.
What about grown-up time?
Amy: My schedule is so tough during a World Cup year—training camp for three weeks, then maybe 10 days at home, then back to camp for another three weeks. And this is a very crucial time for a player like myself; I haven’t solidified my World Cup spot. Luckily for me, Adam is in PT. Probably the last thing he wants to do when he comes home is more of that. But I’ll say, “Can you rub my calf? I’m in pain.” And he will, he’s great!
Photographs by Kyle Monk