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USWNT coach Jill Ellis: Rose Lavelle ‘a joy’ to work with

Ellis described Lavelle as a creative player with a strong work ethic who consistently pushes to get better on and off the field.

United States' Rose Lavelle, left, takes the ball away from Sweden's Amanda Ilestedt and Caroline Seger, right, during the Women's World Cup Group F soccer match between Sweden and the United States at Stade Océane, in Le Havre, France, Thursday, June 20, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

REIMS, France — Rose Lavelle turned to her right and placed her hand on her chin with an expectant smirk directed at her coach, Jill Ellis, who was just asked what Lavelle brings to the United States women’s national team.

“I’m going to talk about you right now,” Ellis said to her midfielder with a chuckle. “I’ve had the privilege of knowing Rose for a long time now and she’s a joy.”

Ellis went on to describe how Lavelle is a creative player with a strong work ethic who consistently pushes to get better on and off the field. Ellis said during the 2-0 Sweden win, Lavelle displayed what she can do in terms of the final pass and creating separation between opposing players.

“She’s actually one of the best players in the air,” Ellis continued. “She’s got a lot of tools in her toolbag — and her head is growing massively right now.”

“I’m one of the best in the air?” Lavell said quietly with a doubtful look on her face.

“You are. Your timing is really good. We’ve got some beasties in the air, but you get up there,” Ellis replied. 

Lavelle, 24, has emerged as one of the most important creative playmakers for the United States since returning from a 2017 hamstring injury. She scored two goals and an assist during the Americans’ 13-0 win over Thailand, Lavelle’s World Cup debut. She then remained on the bench against Chile because Ellis rotated most of the lineup, before returning to the starting XI for the final group stage match against Sweden.

The U.S. next faces Spain in the round of 16 Monday at noon ET in Reims.

“I always say I’m very grateful to the coaching staff, because during my injury when I was coming back with that, they were really patient and they always had this belief in me that I was going to come back be the same player that I was before,” Lavelle said. “Knowing that I have their confidence helped me get back to that point, and I’m learning something everyday.”

Marta’s Vogue cover

Marta is the July cover model for Vogue Brasil, making her the first woman soccer player to make the cover.

“Amazing afternoon with you guys,” Marta wrote in a post on Instagram. “Very happy with the cover.”

The other notable soccer player to grace a Vogue Brazil cover was Neymar, who shared a 2014 cover with Gisele Bündchen. 

Marta is leading Brazil in the 2019 Women’s World Cup. She’s scored two goals during the tournament for 17 total World Cup goals, a record for World Cup goals — at the men’s or women’s level.

Brazil narrowly advanced to the round of 16 after finishing third in Group C with a 3-0 win over Jamaica, a 3-2 loss to Australia and a 1-0 victory over Italy in the group phase. The Brazilians were eliminated Sunday during a 2-1 knockout round loss to France.

“She’s done so much for the game,” U.S. coach Jill Ellis said of Marta. “She’s been around a longtime, but still a very special player. I’ve seen her enough and sheen how she is and how she’s playing currently with the Pride in Orlando. She’s just an ambassador for our sport.”

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