CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati native stepped onto the pitch in Lyon, France Sunday as part of the U.S. Women's National Team starting lineup; Rose Lavelle left that same pitch a local legend after scoring the second goal that clinched her team's lead over the Netherlands.
Lavelle, a Mount Notre Dame alumnus, was consistently a standout player through the full World Cup run, gaining national recognition for her tricky juggling, speed and finesse.
Her first season with the full USWNT saw the 24-year-old midfielder take center stage several times as her speedy footwork and unpredictable movements stunned local soccer fans over and over.
Former coaches, family members and local fans often packed Cincinnati bars to watch the USWNT charge through the World Cup, always ready to cheer on Lavelle.
"To see our Rose on the center stage and achieving her dream -- and I pray that she stays healthy and strong and just keeps moving forward with it -- it's overwhelming," said Jackie Welling at a watch party for the group phase showdown against Chile. "It's really hard to say how fabulous it is. We're so happy and so proud of her."
Lavelle's hometown was watching as she played her heart out in the World Cup final game Sunday morning, and sunk the goal seen 'round the world.
“It was really special," said Mark Schenkel, Mount Notre Dame athletic director. "To see one of the most humble athletes to ever wear an MND uniform perform on the world stage the way that she did is incredible. I couldn’t be happier for her.”
Sunday, the stakes were high and the stadium in Lyon was packed -- but the U.S. team was ready.
A few formation tricks from the Dutch team may have thrown the U.S. ladies for a loop in the first few moments of the game, but they adapted and played with aggressive offense, dominating possession for the first half of the game. Despite no score at halftime, Rapinoe's converted penalty kick and Lavelle's goal in the 69th minute both certainly cemented a solid U.S. lead.
"It's crazy honestly," said Jessica Getz, a fan watching the game from Rhinehaus. "Every girl dreams of that. Every soccer player as a kid thinks 'that's going to be me one day.'"
Lavelle echoed those same sentiments when the U.S. team prepared to face down Chile in June.
"It's, I think, really cool to see how it's kind of come full circle," she said. "I've always had players that I looked up to growing up. So now to be somebocy that someone can look up to is really cool."