CINCINNATI -- The Queen of the Queen City doesn’t wear a crown. She wears cleats.
And now, Rose Lavelle, the U.S. women’s soccer hero and Cincinnati native, has been honored with her own day.
With throngs of fans shouting "USA, USA" on Fountain Square Friday, local officials and FC Cincinnati celebrated Lavelle, whose goal during the FIFA Women’s World Cup finals secured the win for the U.S. national team.
To honor the star athlete, city and county leaders presented proclamations declaring July 19 “Rose Lavelle Day.”
With the World Cup trophy in tow, the champion athlete told hundreds of admirers that she has her hometown to thank for her success.
“What makes home so special is the people,” Lavelle said. “I think Cincinnati has the best kind of people. I think there’s so much pride and love here.”
Rose Lavelle Day has been incredible! Thank you, Cincinnati, for joining me to celebrate our Hometown Hero and for standing in agreement that women should be paid what they earn ⚽️ pic.twitter.com/t01HfoJMaw
— John Cranley (@JohnCranley) July 19, 2019
Lavelle, 24, started her soccer career at Mount Notre Dame High School before playing for the University of Wisconsin Badgers. For her, she said coming home to Cincinnati is always special.
“Anytime someone asks me where my dream vacation is, I always say Cincinnati,” Lavelle said. “There’s no place I want to be other than home. There are so many great things that make Cincinnati, Cincinnati.”
Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley honored Lavelle with the proclamation and a key to the city, calling her a “role model for girls” across the city.
“She has the key to our heart, but now she has the key to our city,” Cranley said before presenting the key and Rose Lavelle Day proclamation.
Hamilton County Commission President Denise Driehaus presented a similar proclamation, which means it’s Rose Lavelle Day across Hamilton County. State Representative Jessica Miranda also presented Lavelle with an acknowledgement from the state.
During Friday’s celebration, both Cranley and Driehaus called for equal pay for women’s soccer players. The U.S. national team players collectively filed a lawsuit earlier this year that alleges discrimination by the U.S. Soccer Federation and are seeking pay equitable with that of the men’s national team.
The celebration came a day after the World Cup winner came home, surprised the kids from her former soccer club and posed for pictures with the young players who idolize her.
Lavelle became the toast of the town during the Women's World Cup in France. Consistently a standout player through the full World Cup run, the 24-year-old scored three goals, including one in the 2-0 final win over The Netherlands, and was awarded the Bronze Ball as the third best player in the whole tournament.