World Cup champ Lavelle honored by hometown supporters in Cincinnati

Rose Lavelle couldn’t wait to get back to her hometown following the World Cup, but now she’s ready to get back to a normal routine. In other words, she’s ready to resume playing soccer again.

It’s been a whirlwind of celebrations since the Cincinnati native helped the U.S. Women’s National Team repeat as World Cup champions with a 2-0 win over The Netherlands in the final July 7 in France.

Just as it seemed the party was dying down following the team’s victory parade in New York last week, Cincinnati kicked it back up again with a series of events to welcome Lavelle home and celebrate with her.

Lavelle, who played for the Dayton Dutch Lions in 2014 and 2016, spent Thursday and Friday making her rounds through the city of Cincinnati. Stops included a surprise visit to her old Cincinnati United Premier club team at a Chipotle in Loveland, several media events, a special presentation during halftime of FC Cincinnati’s game against D.C. United and a party on Fountain Square in which she was given a key to the city.

“To be able to come home and be honored, I don’t really have any words for it,” Lavelle said during an interview prior to the FC Cincinnati game Thursday.

Lavelle, a 2013 graduate of Mount Notre Dame who played at the University of Wisconsin, said she felt the region’s support throughout the World Cup, but then again, she always has.

The 24-year-old midfielder has made 33 appearances with the U.S. women’s national team and has 10 goals, including three in the World Cup. She had two goals in a 13-0 win over Thailand in the group stage opener June 11 and then a rocket strike in the final to finish off the Dutch.

“I’ve felt that ever since I went to college (at Wisconsin),” Lavelle said. “I felt there’s been unwavering support from this city, not even just these last couple months but throughout my whole soccer career, and I feel like I’ve said this a million times today but I love putting on that jersey and representing my country but I also love knowing I represent this city as well.”

Lavelle was given a warm reception from almost 30,000 fans in attendance at the FC Cincinnati game Thursday, as she walked onto the pitch for a halftime presentation from the club’s owners. She also made an appearance in The Bailey supporters section, where she led some of the chants and played drums for a few beats.

Then, on Friday, she appeared in front of a large crowd at Fountain Square with her family joining her on stage. FC Cincinnati president Jeff Berding presented Lavelle with a framed photo of her playing in a friendly at Nippert Stadium in 2017, a Skyline t-shirt (she is a huge Skyline fan) and gift card, and Mayor John Cranley gave her a key to the city. Hamilton County Commissioner Denise Driehaus and State Representative Jessica Miranda, of District 28, also presented recommendations.

“This has been awesome,” Lavelle said in a speech at the event. “I have a long, long list of people to thank … but I am most excited to be able to stand here and thank all of you guys and the city of Cincinnati. I think Cincinnati is so special, and I love it so much. I joke because anytime people ask where my dream vacation is, I always say Cincinnati. Everyone thinks I’m crazy. You guys probably think I’m crazy too. But there’s no place I want to be than home. … This is truly the city that built me, and I would not be a World Champion without your love and support.”

When asked Thursday if she was tired of celebrating, Lavelle said she’s had a lot of fun, but now she looks forward to returning to her National Women’s Soccer League team. She hopes to be back on the field with the Washington Spirit by Wednesday’s game against Sky Blue.

“I’m just ready to get back into a routine and get back to playing,” she said. “I’m really excited to get back to D.C. and get training with the team. They did such an awesome job with the World Cup break, so I’m excited to jump back in with them and hopefully continue on their success, but it’s been fun.”

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