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World Cup breakout star: Rose Lavelle

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Her journey to the top of the soccer world

United States of America v Netherlands : Final - 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup France Photo by Maddie Meyer - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

There are many things that need to be mentioned following the United States Women’s National Team’s World Cup winning campaign, however, one thing that deserves more than the rest is the play of Rose Lavelle. Her impact on the field was key to their success.

Lavelle, the Cincinnati native and dog loving menace at center midfield for the World Cup Champions was one of if not the key figure for the team in this tournament. We all knew her attacking flare and creativity was some of the best in the world, but her overall work ethic and desire is what took her over the edge. And, what’s even better is her story to the top.

Lavelle was the 2017 first round pick in the NWSL draft to the Boston Breakers. In that same year, she made her USWNT first team debut. After one season with the Breakers, that team folded leaving her without a team. Entering a dispersal draft due to the Breakers folding, Lavelle was then taken by the Washington Spirit with the first pick. It was a big and hectic year for Lavelle as her climb to the top of the USWNT was just beginning.

To every journey there’s a moment that is significant. Throwing it back to 2015, the Women’s team was up against Japan in the World Cup Final. Lavelle, surrounded by other players from her amateur team watched as they conquered the world.

For her, she had always envisioned playing the National team, and make no mistake about it, she knew her time would come. But, her journey to the team wasn’t easy.

When she made her debut in 2017, she shortly suffered a significant hamstring injury. Making it to the top of the soccer world is never easy, especially when you’re dealing with the extra baggage that comes with hamstring injuries. But the saying goes, mountains are meant to be climbed. It was a minor setback for a major comeback.

However, when she went off during the England semi final match and mouthed the words, “It’s my hamstring,” the all to familiar feeling kicked in for those who’s been following the team. Luckily for the USWNT, Lavelle wasn’t seriously injured and the ended up being a key for the team as they took on the Netherlands in the finals.

Lavelle played the role of a box to box center midfielder. She did her defense work, but her ability to pick up the ball deep in her own half and bring it forward is what was key. She was constantly finding those empty spaces and getting the ball and running at the Dutch back line. That’s exactly how her goal happened in the 69th minute. She picked up the ball and ran right at the Dutch. No one stepped to her and by the time they tried, she cut left and ripped a shot into the bottom far corner. She clinched the victory and the World championship.

Ending the tournament, Lavelle tallied three goals and one assist. That effort was good enough to reward her with the Bronze ball, which meant she was the third best player in the tournament. But, it goes without saying, the USWNT would have struggled heavily without Lavelle on the field.

When the story of success goes this deep, it’s even sweeter. For Lavelle, he journey has been remarkable and it’s crazy to say, there’s still many more opportunities to come. She’s going to take some time to soak this one in for sure, it was a great performance and a great moment in USWNT and United States soccer history.