Is Rose Lavelle the Creativity Jill Ellis’ Has Been Looking to Find?

Jill Ellis uttered these word to Rose Lavelle in Septemeber 2016, ‘If you’re not ready to commit to this, I can’t keep going down this road where I invite you in and you’re not healthy or not ready. I’m prepared to bring you in January, but if you’re not ready, you’re running out of time.”

This was Ellis’s way of telling Lavelle that she better step up or opportunity to join the U.S. women’s national team was minimal.

Lavelle has previously been plagued with injuries and concerns around her fitness, which were attributted to a lack of training and a poor diet.

Fast forward to a few days before the women’s world cup 2019 and Lavelle or “Sweet Baby Rose” as she is known, is the centerpiece of the USWNT and for good reason. She has “soccer swag” – in the words of fellow midfielder, Megan Rapinoe.

Her ability to accelerate with the ball is rare. Added onto that, she has the vision to send defense-splitting passes. She also plays with finesse which explains why she is a fans favorite.

It’s no surprise that Lavelle is playing such a pivotal role. Paula Wilkins, Head coach of the women’s soccer team at University of Wisconsin noticed Lavelle’s brilliant technique on the ball. At times, she tended to show off  by nutmegging opponents and sometimes holding onto the ball for too long.  

Wilkins recalls Lavelle’s playful personality who wasn’t difficult to manage.  She played for the Badgers as a high school student and continued so through University. In her freshman year, she scored six goals and won the Freshman of the Year award, 

Throughout this time, she was called up to the U20s squad for the USWNT. It was there that she made a name for herself and caught Ellis’ eye. She got regular calls to the senior team where she easily transitioned – playing great games against tough opponents such as Japan and Brazil.

It’s clear her journey and spot on the squad is well deserved.

Coach Ellis will be relying on Lavelle to create space in the midfield and provide the solid passes for Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe to finish.

The USWNT is known for a physical approach, and Lavelle brings about a difference with her feather-like touches and passes on the ball.



Leave a Comment