The younger Lavelle thought the improbable Rose ceremony was pretty neat, too.
“I have met some other Roses in my life,” the third-grader said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “My best friend was named Rose, and I met her in preschool. My second-grade teacher’s daughter is named Rose and I got to meet her. It was pretty exciting when I got to meet the soccer player. I even got a selfie with her.”
Yes, she did. Rose also got Lavelle, who scored three goals in the World Cup, to autograph her red-and-blue striped customized Spirit jersey with Lavelle’s name and No. 10 on the back, which her father, Shawn, purchased from Rockville Soccer earlier that day.
The entire 45-second exchange between Rose and Rose, was captured on video by NBC Sports Washington’s Brian McNally and has been viewed more than 400,000 times. The younger Rose has accounted for few of those views.
“Um, I don’t really need to watch it, because I lived that,” she said. “I was actually there experiencing it.”
“That’s good, because I’ve got to re-watch it,” Shawn said with a laugh.
Shawn and his wife, Jennifer Cooley, named their firstborn Rose because Jennifer loved the name. They first became aware of the more famous Rose Lavelle in December 2015, when a friend who attended Wisconsin, Rose the Cincinnati native’s alma mater, shared a Facebook post about her being called up to train with the U.S. Women’s National Team.
“Rose had kind of been on my radar for a while,” Shawn said.
“I remember Shawn mentioned it to me, and I kind of blew it off,” Jennifer said.
When the Spirit selected Lavelle with the No. 1 overall pick in the NWSL’s 2018 dispersal draft, Shawn and Jennifer mentioned it to Rose.
“I heard that there was another Rose Lavelle, and I wanted to meet her,” Rose recalled.
On Saturday, Shawn, Jennifer, Rose and her 5-year-old sister made the trek from Centreville to Boyds to attend their first Spirit game. The team had previously announced that Lavelle would not play while recovering from a hamstring ailment, but she would be on hand to greet fans. Perhaps, Shawn and Jennifer thought, their oldest daughter might have an opportunity to meet her namesake.
NBC Sports Washington reporter Anna Witte was interviewing fans during the game and happened to chat with Rose, who was sitting with her family on a hill behind one of the goals. Upon hearing the girl’s full name, Witte relayed the coincidence to a member of the Spirit’s PR staff, who arranged for Rose and Shawn to come on the field for the postgame ceremony.
“I’ll probably tell my friends [about meeting Rose] at my birthday party,” said Rose, who will turn 8 in a couple weeks and is already looking forward to attending another Spirit game. “I want to tell as many people as possible.”
Rose loves reading and learning, especially about science, her mother said, and while she isn’t enrolled in any organized sports, she enjoys playing soccer for fun. She watched parts of the USWNT’s run to a second straight World Cup title.
“I think this gives her an entry into being more interested in sports and the Spirit in particular, and maybe it’ll grow from there,” Jennifer said.
“I want to see the league flourish,” Shawn, a George Washington graduate who began following the Colonials’ women’s soccer team when Shannon Higgins-Cirovski was the head coach in the mid-90s and attended Women’s World Cup games in D.C. in 1999, said of the NWSL.
"I want to see more stories of women like Rose and [USWNT and Spirit teammate] Mallory [Pugh], and the Mystics’ Elena [Delle Donne]. Women in sports, women in science, because maybe soccer doesn’t turn out to be our Rose’s passion, but it’s going to be someone else’s. If we can be part of making the league thrive, some girls somewhere in the world are going to have one of those women be their hero. When they’re in the backyard, when they’re in the driveway, they’re going to think of them.”
At a post-World Cup news conference with her Spirit teammates at FedEx Field on Monday, Lavelle was still talking about her chance meeting on Saturday.
“Hopefully little Rose Lavelle will come up and everyone will forget about old Rose Lavelle,” she said.
Who says the field isn’t big enough for two Rose Lavelles?
“It would be cool in 12 years if it was, ‘Rose Lavelle passes to Rose Lavelle,’ and [veteran soccer play-by-play man] JP Dellacamera’s head exploded,” Shawn said.
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