Rose Lavelle is set to make her first World Cup appearance at this summer's FIFA Women's World Cup in France. Before joining the U.S. Women's National Team for training, she's visiting with friends and family in Cincinnati and unveiling a mural in her honor.
"I always say that Cincinnati is the city that built me into the player and the person that I am today," Lavelle says. "I think the support that I get from Cincinnati means so much to me because this city means so much to me."
Lavelle graduated from Mount Notre Dame High School, where she was a standout player, and was the number one NWSL draft pick in 2017. She currently is a midfielder with the NWSL's Washington Spirit.
The mural was created by artist Jenny Ustick, a professor at UC's College of Design, Architecture, Art & Planning. It's on West Freedom Way near the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center at The Banks.
"It's so surreal," says Lavelle, seeing the mural for the first time. "I think she did an awesome job."
The World Cup starts next month and the USA's first game is June 11 against Thailand.
"My thought is just to focus on the team," Lavelle says about her goals for the tournament. "If we all buy into the same thing and focus on our team goals then the individual successes will come. ... I just want to go there and help us win it."
The midfielder says she'd love to see a professional women's team in Cincinnati some day.
"I know how huge it was for me to have the [U.S.] women's team to look up to when I was younger and I can't imagine how much more of an impact it would've had if there was a team in my own backyard. I think it's great that FC Cincinnati can serve as that for kids all over this city and hopefully there's a women's team because I think it'd be an awesome example for all the younger girls."
In college, she set a program record at the University of Wisconsin, becoming a three-time All-American.
A mainstay in the Youth National Team system, Lavelle was first called up to the full U.S. Women's National Team in 2017. She made her first appearance and started March 4, 2017, against England. Her first goal for the Red, White & Blue came against Russia a month later on April 9, 2017.
She has made 26 national team appearances, scoring seven goals.