How Rose Lavelle became one of the best midfielders in U.S. Women’s soccer history

  • Rose Lavelle is one of Gotham FC's new signings for 2024
  • Take a look at her journey for club and country below
Rose Lavelle of USWNT and Gotham FC
Rose Lavelle of USWNT and Gotham FC / Tim Clayton - Corbis/GettyImages

With the golden era of Carli Lloyd, Abby Wambach Tobin Heath, Alex Morgan, and Megan Rapinoe, NJ/NY Gotham FC player Rose Lavelle’s name always seems to get lost after she emerged on the USWNT scene in 2017.  

However, as a young 22-year-old, she burst onto the scene and helped the USWNT win its record-breaking fourth World Cup title and instantly became a fan favorite.

But how did one of the Lavelle get to where she is today? Growing up in Cincinnati, she began her youth career with the Greater Sycamore Soccer Club. It was not long before she jumped to Premier level play with Cincinnati United. This was her stepping stone to a shot at professional soccer, with the club being the only team in the area with a pathway to the pros.

One person who helped her be the player she is today was her youth coach, Neil Bradford, who passed away in 2016 due to cancer. He told Lavelle at the age of eight that she would become professional and play in England one day, and he was right.

Rose Lavelle’s professional career and her journey to stardom 

After a historic high school career at Mount Notre Dame High School, the current Gotham FC player committed to the University of Wisconsin and played for the Badgers for four years. During her time playing college ball, she also started playing semi-professionally with the Dayton Dutch Lions and the Seattle Sounders Women in the USL W-League and the WPSL.

In college, Lavelle was stellar, starting in all nine matches played during her freshman year, scoring six while assisting seven times, which awarded her Big Ten Freshman of the Year. She ended her college career starting 61 of the 62 games played, recording 19 goals with 14 assists while winning Big Ten Midfielder of the Year twice, a MAC Hermann semifinalist in 2015, First Team Big Ten all four seasons, and winning U.S. Soccer Young Female Athlete of the year in 2014.

Her success almost immediately granted her to turn professional following her final year of college soccer, as she was the number one overall pick during the 2017 NWSL College Draft by the Boston Breakers. Her follow Gotham FC teammates Mandy Freeman and Midge Purce were also drafted in the first round that year.

Once she started her career with Boston, she simultaneously began her senior career with the USWNT. Less than two years following the 2015 World Cup, Lavelle made her senior debut against England in March of 2017 during the SheBelieves Cup, winning Player of the Match despite the loss. At the same time as her USWNT success, she was killing it in the domestic league, signing with the Washington Spirit after her first season, totaling two goals in 21 appearances over two and a half seasons.

Her ongoing success on the pitch was just the start of the new generation of young talent that included Abby Dahlkemper, Tierna Davidson, Lindsey Horan, and Mallory Swanson. Her cut-and-pass style of play includes speed and agility. The Gotham player's lethal crossing abilities make her one of the best midfielders in the world.

Lavelle was a no-brainer to make the 2019 World Cup roster, starting six of the seven games while scoring three goals, including the second goal against the Netherlands during the finals. Not only did she win the Bronze Ball of the tournament, but she also won her first World Cup at 24, three years after just entering her final year of college ball.

This has kept her name on the team, being a fan favorite amongst the supporters. She’s also won other awards for the national team, including a Bronze Olympic medal, four SheBelieves Cups, two CONCACAF Women’s Championships, and one W Gold Cup title.  

In 2020, Lavelle signed with Manchester City, playing her only season abroad in England. She had five goals in 26 overall appearances, including one Women’s FA Cup trophy. Now, she is back in the States, where she recently signed with the 2023 NWSL Champions Gotham FC.   

She had spent three seasons in Seattle before her move to the Big Apple area, recording eight goals in 42 appearances. Unfortunately, she has been dealing with several different muscular injuries in the past year, limiting her playing time with both her club and country. This resulted in just one start in three appearances during the 2023 World Cup, still recording an assist against the Netherlands off the bench.

Despite her injury struggles, Lavelle is still just 28 years old with much more playing time left in her career. She is now transitioning into a leader in the game as she prepares for her new challenge with Gotham FC ahead of the 2024 Paris Olympics in the summer, looking for her first Gold Medal with the national team.