If someone were to ask a student who the best athletes are on the UW-Madison campus, most people would give names such as Nigel Hayes, Corey Clement or Lauren Carlini. One name unlikely to be mentioned is Rose Lavelle, which shouldn’t be the case. Lavelle is one of the best college soccer players in the nation and was rated as the preseason No. 2 player in the country by TopDrawerSoccer.com.
Lavelle was raised in Cincinnati, Ohio and played high-school soccer at Mount Notre Dame High School. She was highly recruited and considered playing at Notre Dame, Louisville, Dayton, Florida and Purdue, but eventually decided to come to Wisconsin. Lavelle was drawn to Wisconsin by head coach Paula Wilkins, who had coached her before on an interregional team in high school.
“I knew she was someone I would enjoy playing for and could help me get to the level that I wanted to,” Lavelle said. “And when I came on my visit I loved everything about the school.”
Lavelle has made a name for herself on the national scene by playing for the Under-20 and Under-23 national teams, where she gained valuable experience playing with players from across the country.
“I took away some leadership aspects,” Lavelle said. “Having to play a role on the world stage is definitely something I can bring back to help lead this team.”
Wilkins added, “she has gained consistency and she is taking more control of the game.”
Lavelle has received plenty of individual accolades while playing for the Badgers. She made the First Team All-Big Ten team each of her three years, and was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2013. Even with all of these accolades piling up, the most important thing for Lavelle is the team’s success.
“My focus isn’t on individual awards,” Lavelle said, “I try to just focus on our team goals.”
Even with Lavelle receiving accolades throughout her career, she hasn’t let that be a distraction and has continued to progress, according to Wilkins.
“The biggest thing is consistency, she is better at breaking lines and connecting with the final pass,” Wilkins said.
Wilkins has had the pleasure of coaching some great college players such as Christie Welsh and Ali Krieger. Both Welsh and Krieger played under Wilkins at Penn State, and they were also both on the U.S. Women’s National Team. Welsh won the Hermann Trophy, the most prestigious award in the sport, in 2001 and Krieger was a semifinalist for the award. Wilkins feels that Lavelle has just as much talent and potential as the other great players she has coached.
“Skill-set wise, she is one of the best that I have had,” Wilkins said. “Her physical ability and her technical ability are a little better, so she ranks at the very top.”
Lavelle was called up Nov. 24 to the U.S. Women’s National Team to participate in the final four games of the team’s Victory Tour, which continues Dec. 6 against Trinidad and Tobago. She was one of eight players called up that were not on the World Cup team, and one of two college players called up to participate in the Victory Tour. If Lavelle plays well she could possibly earn herself a spot on the U.S. Women’s National Team for the upcoming Olympics.
During the college season, Lavelle knew there was talk of her joining the national team, but she didn’t allow that to draw her focus away from the field.
“There are a lot of good midfielders in contention, so I guess I just have to be ready in case I get called on,” Lavelle said.
While Lavelle may be unsure of her future with the national team, Jill Ellis, the coach of the national team, seems to feel differently. In an interview with espnW in mid-October, Ellis mentioned Lavelle as a player that will likely be called in for a tryout in the future.
“We’ll definitely be taking a look at some of the top college players,” Ellis said. “Positionally, we’re looking at... a center mid for Wisconsin, Rose Lavelle.”
Rose clearly made an impression on Ellis at the U-20 level national team.
“Rose impressed me at the U-20 World Cup in Canada,” Ellis said “I think Rose has those physical qualities in college, and now I want to see her at our level.”
Lavelle was a key factor in leading the Badgers to a share of a Big Ten championship, leading the team in goals and points on the season. She will have the chance to bring another Big Ten championship and a possible NCAA tournament appearance in her senior year for the Badgers.
While Lavelle may not be a well-known name on the UW-Madison campus, she is one of the most talented athletes in the country, and she may soon be a nationally known player.