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Former Badgers standout Rose Lavelle heading back to World Cup in 2023 for USA

The Badgers soccer star is finding herself at the biggest stage once again.

Soccer: International Friendly Women’s Soccer-Republic of Ireland at USA Dustin Safranek-USA TODAY Sports

Former Wisconsin Badgers soccer standout Rose Lavelle is heading back to the World Cup for the United States national team, US Soccer announced last month.

Lavelle, 28, made waves during the 2019 World Cup, cementing herself as one of the nation’s top players, which included a sweet, game-sealing goal in the Finals against the Netherlands that was the cherry on top.

Lavelle has made 88 appearances for the U.S. National team, scoring 24 goals and accumulating 20 assists during the period of time, and enters the prime of her career as the 2023 World Cup edges closer.

The U.S. begins their slate at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in New Zealand against Vietnam on Friday, July 21 at 8 p.m. CT.

They continue group play with a well-awaited matchup against the Netherlands on Wednesday, July 26th, also at 8 p.m. CT. Finally, they finish group play with a bout against Portugal on Tuesday, August 1st at 2 a.m. CT.

Lavelle was one of the most prominent Badgers soccer players in their history, earning All-Big Ten midfielder honors in back-to-back years, which was the first ever occurrence in conference history.

In addition, Lavelle was a four-time first-team All-Big Ten selection, leading the Badgers to two NCAA tournament appearances in 2014 and 2016, as well as a conference title in the former year.

Lavelle is coming into group play off an extensive layoff, having been sidelined since a U.S. Women’s Soccer Team friendly match against Ireland on April 8th.

With the fitness concerns present, Lavelle understands the difficulty of the challenge presented ahead of her and the U.S. Women’s National Team in the upcoming month.

“Nothing is a given. This World Cup is gonna be the hardest World Cup to win. I think every team is getting so much better, and it’s great. There are more teams and there’s so much more investment in the game. It makes winning it that much harder,” Lavelle shared in an interview with CBS Sports.

Lavelle’s experience with the national team will be different in 2023 as she approaches more of a leadership role in her second bout on the World Cup platform.

While vocal leadership isn't necessarily a natural tendency for the midfielder, she’s looking to learn from her mentors and grow in that area as the United States looks to capture another World Cup Final.

“Leadership has definitely been something we’ve talked about. I think I’ve been lucky in having the veteran players that I’ve gotten to kind of grow into this team with. I feel like I’ve had a lot of like really great examples to learn from and a lot of different styles of leadership too, I would say. For me, being a vocal leader, I would say, doesn’t really come naturally to me, so it’s definitely something as one of the more experienced players on the team I think I kind of have to push myself out of my comfort zone a little to be more of a leader,” Lavelle said.

Heading into the World Cup, questions have arisen about Lavelle’s fitness, as team doctors and staff have been cautious with her return, although she has been training with her National Women’s Soccer League team Ol Reign, as well as with her new personal trainer, Dak Notestine.

While she’s pushing to be on the field as much as possible, Lavelle did share a vote of confidence in her teammates, pointing out the depth of the team and the shared mentality of being ready when given the opportunity.

“This is gonna sound like a cliche answer but there’s so many good players all around. I kind of laugh when I see sometimes who we even have on the bench. It’s such a kind of empowering feeling to be like, ‘Okay, whoever goes down. We have such amazing options and such amazing players that have always risen to the occasion’ And it’s just like, it’s sick, honestly. I even look at Alyssa [Thompson] and she’s been crushing it, and she’s 18, and she’s sick. We just have so many players like that.”

After a victory four years ago, Lavelle and the U.S. Women’s National Team are looking to repeat in Australia during the 2023 World Cup, which will present a tough challenge.