Harrison, N.J. — When Rose Lavelle takes the field for her Boston Breakers debut on April 16th, she’ll do it just a few weeks after playing all 90 minutes in her first cap with the U.S. women’s national team.
The No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NWSL Draft got the start in the United States’ 1-0 loss to England at the SheBelieves Cup. On a bitterly cold day at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey, Lavelle impressed in the midfield and was named Player of the Match by U.S. Soccer.
“I think Rose did really, really well. Very proud of her. She did great. She was playing out wide. … She’s normally usually playing central,” Carli Lloyd said. “She looked comfortable, calm and make some good decisions and created some things for us.”
Lavelle said she found out she would start the day before the game and admitted being a little nervous leading up to and during the first few minutes of the match.
“I think I definitely have some things I can take away and work on but I think there are also some things I did OK at,” she said after the match. “I think I went at some defenders, which when I’m on the flank I usually have a little confidence issue with. … I think I dribbled by some defenders a couple of times.”
Head coach Jill Ellis thought Lavelle did a bit more than just OK at some things.
“She was fantastic. I thought she did great,” Ellis said. “It’s her first cap. Five minutes of nerves and then she settled into the game and she was one of the best players in the park, so that was fantastic.”
Lavelle was active on the left wing for most of the match and then when she moved to the center late in the second half. She very nearly tallied her first international goal in the 19th minute, when a Crystal Dunn cross fell to her, wide-open at the far post in the box. But Lavelle’s shot was saved by England goalkeeper Siobhan Chamberlain.
“I know,” she said with a sigh when asked about the play. “I think I hit it right at the goalie. I wish I could’ve buried that one.”
Despite the near miss, Lavelle’s performance earned her raves from her teammates.
“She did phenomenal. … I’ve seen some pretty amazing first caps,” Becky Sauerbrunn said. “But Rose tonight, I was really impressed with her feet. She got out of some sticky situations.”
As for the cold in New Jersey? Lavelle’s college career — with the Wisconsin Badgers — prepared her for that.
“There was one game in Wisconsin that I played in probably two inches of snow, so I’m pretty familiar with the cold,” she said. “I think Wisconsin conditioned me well for this moment.”
Following the SheBelieves Cup, it’s on to preseason in Boston and the start of her NWSL career.
“I’m excited to get to Boston obviously,” Lavelle said. “This is definitely helping me prepare for that. I can’t let it get to my head. I think still have a lot of work to get done.”
The Breakers visit FC Kansas City on Sunday, April 16, at 6 p.m. ET.