Forward Megan Rapinoe may have dominated the headlines during the U.S. Women's Soccer team's rise to winning the 2019 World Cup, but in Cincinnati, all eyes were on midfielder Rose Lavelle.
In the 69th minute, Lavelle, a native of the Queen City, dribbled down the field to score the team's second and final goal of the day. It was all the team needed to best the Netherlands 2-nil and take home their fourth World Cup title. At that moment, the crowd gathered at The Banks' World Cup Viewing Village "went nuts," says Tracy Schwegmann with The Banks.
"The place went crazy," she says. "Everybody that was watching had to wait so long for any score, so when the U.S. finally got on the board the crowd went crazy and they didn't have to wait very long for Rose to score shortly thereafter."
The crowd, she says, immediately started chanting, "USA! USA!" and then "Rose La-velle! Rose La-velle!"
This isn't the first time Lavelle has made her hometown proud. She scored twice in her first start at the Women's World Cup back in June, posting goals in the 10th and 56th minutes as the USA beat Thailand 13-0, the highest scoring victory in the Cup's history.
Lavelle visited Cincinnati ahead of her trip to France to unveil a mural in her honor at The Banks.
"I always say that Cincinnati is the city that built me into the player and the person that I am today," the Mount Notre Dame grad told WVXU's Tana Weingartner. "I think the support that I get form Cincinnati means so much to me because this city means so much to me."
Local artist Jenny Roesel Ustick, a professor at the University of Cincinnati's College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, intentionally left room to later add a World Cup trophy to her artwork at 44 West Freedom Way. Schwegmann says it will be added as soon as rights to use the trophy's likeness are cleared.
While Schwegmann doesn't know the exact number in attendance for Sunday's viewing party, she says the restaurants and bars were full, as were the streets, which had been shut down to vehicular traffic.
"I was down there all morning while they were setting up the streets," she says. "As soon as we set up the picnic tables we had people taking them up. It was a really great event for all ages."
On Wednesday, the team will be honored with a ticker-tape parade in New York City. Might Cincinnatians hope for a something similar to honor its hometown hero?
"We would love to do that," Schwegmann says. "We'd like to hope (Lavelle) makes it back to Cincinnati before too long. She is the darling of the town at the moment."