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World Cup: Aspiring reporter's dream comes true

Journalists can be a jaded lot. Even at a major event like the World Cup.

But there's at least one reporter here for whom the assignment has been a dream job.

Daniela Rodriguez, an aspiring TV reporter from Houston, beat out more than 1,000 other contestants on ESPN Deportes "Dream Job: The Reporter" reality show last month, winning the opportunity to do on-air reporting on the Mexican World Cup team from South Africa.

"I didn't expect it," said Rodriguez, an account executive for an advertising agency who entered the competition on a lark in December and wound up as the only female among the seven finalists. "I'm so excited."

A native of Mexico City who once hosted a TV music show in Guadalajara, Rodriguez got hooked on soccer working in communications for Club America, one of Mexico's top clubs.

"That's when I knew I wanted to do sports," the 26-year-old said. And the passion didn't fade after her recent marriage and move to Houston.

"Honestly, after working in Club America I never wanted to go back and do something else," Rodriguez said. "I want to keep working in sports. And I've always enjoyed being on camera. I did it [before] more like a hobby. And I think that's why I enjoyed it."

Among the stories she's already reported on from South Africa was a feature on Marcos Antonio Rodriguez, one of the Mexican referees who will be officiating in the World Cup.

In addition to beating out the other contestants for the "Dream Job" assignment, Rodriguez said she also had to win over her doubting husband.

"He was like, 'No, you'll never win,'" she said.

Now Jose Carlos Balcazar is glad his wife didn't listen to him because he'll soon be joining her at the World Cup.

Rodriguez scored big with the "Dream Job" judges for her personality, on-camera enthusiasm and soccer knowledge, much of which she learned from her grandfather. And she has already developed one other reportorial trait: She's not afraid to share her opinions.

Asked about the likelihood that Memo Ochoa, the goalkeeper for her favorite team, Club America, won't start in the World Cup opener, Rodriguez wasn't afraid to weigh in.

"Honestly, I'm very sad," she said. "I have to say it: We have great goalkeepers. But for me the best one is Memo Ochoa. He's younger and he's more agile." 

Now back to you in the studio.

-- Kevin Baxter in Johannesburg, South Africa
 
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