Rose Lavelle, reluctant star attraction is happy to be home in Cincinnati

The game will be the first international match ever played at FC Cincinnati's new West End stadium, TQL Stadium, where more than 21,000 tickets have been sold for the game.

The star attraction will be midfielder Rose Lavelle, who played at Mount Notre Dame High School and for Cincinnati United Premier youth club, though she doesn't see it that way.

"I don't know if I think of myself as having a starring role, but I am very, very excited to be able to come and play in Cincinnati," Lavelle said in a media call on Saturday. "I'm so happy any time I'm able to come home but to get to come home and kind of show off the city to all my teammates."

Few U.S. players will have ever had more family members on hand to support them.

"I'm from a big family,' said Lavelle. "My mom's one of 12, so I have like 40 cousins. And so I think there's going to be about like, between everybody, probably like 60 or 70 of my family there."

Lavelle is conscious she is a role model for young players, however.

"Hopefully, girls and boys from Cincinnati can see themselves in me," she said, "and see that it's possible for a Midwest person to get to this level."

Lavelle was once in their shoes.

"When I was growing up," she said, "I had Heather Mitts to look up to. She went to [St.] Ursula [Academy], and I was obsessed with her and I think it just made it so much more real to me that somebody from where I was from was in a place that I wanted to get to. I hope I can serve as that same kind of inspiration to people in this area."

Lavelle went on to attend the University of Wisconsin and earned her first cap for the USA in March 2017 at the SheBelieves Cup. The USA is now in a similar situation, regrouping in the months after failing to again win Olympic gold.

Lavelle hopes other players will get the chance she got that led to her starring for the USA at the 2019 Women's World Cup:

"I think hopefully we'll be seeing new faces in camp because I think it's always good to bring in some good players who can push everyone here and push for spots. I think that's what's made this team so great and successful. And what makes this environment so hard is there's always somebody knocking on the door ready to take your spot. And I think there's a lot of really, really good players performing in the league that hopefully will get brought in and continue to raise the level and make everybody better."
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