The unforgettable story of a young soldier who survived one of the
bloodiest battles in Afghanistan and lived to pursue his dream of playing
Division I college football
At five foot eight, 175 pounds, Daniel Rodriguez was an unlikely recruit for
the gridiron. But on the battlefield, under the daily rain of sniper fire, he
made a promise to his best friend. “When I get out of this shit hole, I’m going
to play college football.”
Daniel had joined the Army just weeks after graduating from high
school, having recently suffered a devastating loss. At age nineteen he had no
idea what war really was; he just wanted to get out of town. Almost immediately,
he was deployed to Iraq, and he would later serve in Afghanistan. And he grew
up fast—stopped sleeping, started smoking. Killing became second nature. He
fought in the infamous Battle of Kamdesh, and for his bravery he was awarded a
Purple Heart and the Bronze Star. But his best friend was not so lucky.
Against all odds, Daniel returned home—broken but still alive. Stuck in
the clutches of PTSD, Daniel remembered the promise he made to his friend and knew
he had to make good on it. He embarked on a grueling training regimen, and when
he posted a video of his efforts, it went viral overnight. By some mix of grit,
determination, and the power of the Internet, he earned a spot on the Clemson
University football team.
A powerfully delivered narrative of a young soldier, his unlikely
dream, and how he found his way out of darkness, Rise is inspiring,
quintessentially American, and will resonate with anyone who has ever fought
for what they wanted. Download and start listening now!