When Life Throws Thorns, Hunt for a Rose

by Dara Klatt

How Rose Lavelle, the Washington Spirit soccer standout and World Cup champ, stays active and upbeat

through COVID-19

Lavelle’s March 2020 Photoshoot (Tony Quinn/ISI Photos)

It’s been almost a year since Rose Lavelle, the Washington Spirit and United States Women’s National Team midfielder, scored three goals in six electrifying matches on the global stage and became a World Cup revelation. While honors and accolades have accrued one by one (Bronze Ball award for the third most outstanding player in the tournament, 2019 U.S. Soccer Female player of the Year nominee and named to the FIFIPro World XI) Rose is still Rose, who readily prefers to play in cleats than step onto an award stage in strappy heels…or sit at home in slippers.

Now, with sports training on an ongoing moratorium amid the pandemic, Rose is doing what she does best: staying regimented and positive.

“Nothing really seems to faze her,” says Washington Spirit coach Richie Burke. “Rose might be one of the most disciplined and driven players I’ve ever come across in football…her attitude is first rate.”

That attitude shines when asked about the struggle that COVID-19 represents to athletes in the area. “It’s definitely a challenging time for everyone,” Lavelle acknowledges, “but we’re taking it in stride,” she says of her and fellow teammates. “We’re all working out and doing our best to stay in shape.” Each day, Lavelle is issued a specific workout routine based on a mixture of running, weights and getting touches on the ball. But, solo performance training isn’t effortless for everyone.

Pre-COVID-19, Lavelle was gearing up to begin another season of dribbling game-winning shots around opponents (ISI Photos)

“It can be hard for players to continue to work on their own without supervision or motivation from competing with each other and under the direction of technical staff,” says Burke. “They have to have incredible discipline and self-governance to stay on track. Rose is exceptional in this category and incredibly fit at all times.”

With Washington, Maryland and Virginia area residents still largely under stay-at-home orders, and young soccer players perhaps putting the figure 8 dribbling, wall juggling and stair-stepping (toe tap) skills on hold, Lavelle gets practical. “Kids should still make time to practice in their backyards, if possible. I believe much of the creativity in sports comes from working on your craft by yourself.”

Add pure joy to that recipe of working on your craft as well. “Rose is at her happiest when she has a ball and can play … even world superstars like Rose just love to play!” says Burke.

Sounds like the rosiness we all need right now.

World Cup champs- they’re just like us! Lavelle shares an Instagram picture (@lavellerose) of her own creative face mask, an ode to her dog, WilmaJean!

Staying Game-Ready

Performance Training – Designed by Michael Minthorne, Washington Spirit’s High Performance Director, daily lifting/core work is assigned to Lavelle via the club’s TeamBuildr Mobile app. Lavelle separately has a program fromUS Soccer, which Minthorne tracks and monitors. “She is very diligent about this type of individual work,” says Burke.

Movement/Running/Cycling – The programming process is ongoing and prescribed by Minthorne for players. “The other day when we chatted, [Lavelle] had just returned from a runny workout other now,” says Burke.

Nutrition – Athletes are supplied with breakfast and lunch service from Washington Spirit’s caterers (Super Fd). which is delivered to their homes. While Lavelle is at home, she opts for healthy home-cooked meals.

Technical Training – Lavelle is provided with individual ball work by the club. “Rose told me she can’t wait to get back to work with some of her teammates instead of kicking around on her own,” says Burke.

Lavelle stays game-ready so she can kick the Washington Spirits into victory when their game season does begin (ISI Photos).

Rose’s Favorites:

Favorite food: Skyline chili

Comfy brand of choice: New Balance 

Lavelle shares her New Balance quarantine-look (@lavellerose).

What calms me: Family, WilmaJean (my dog) & my teammates

For now, Lavelle and her team patiently await the day where they will be able to safely practice together. On May 15, the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) announced the extension of its team training moratorium from May 15 to May 24 and will continue to evaluate the status of team training in the coming days. While the season might be on hold for now, Lavelle’s commitment to her practice will make her game-ready when the Washington Spirits return to the field.

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