Trinity Rodman and the USWNT’s next generation seek Olympic redemption after a “chaotic” World Cup

It’s been almost a year but Trinity Rodman It’s still hard to say it yourself.

“Losed at the World Cup,” she said. “I hate saying that word.”

For the United States women’s national team, the L-word has always been a taboo, if not a completely foreign concept. The strongest in Brazil’s pecking order on the men’s side, the USWNT has been a consistent winner, dominating women’s soccer like few teams in any sport. The United States has won the gold medal at the Olympics four out of seven times, and in nine women’s World Cup tournaments, the team has won the top prize in four of them. The last decade has produced a really famous activity, like Megan Rapinoe And Alex Morgan led the USWNT to the 2012 Olympic gold medal and back-to-back World Cup titles in 2015 and 2019.

But last year’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand marked a modest end to that dynastic era. Under the guidance of head coach Vlatko Andonovski, The team was an awkward mix of familiar mainstays and World Cup rookies like Rodman, lacking the offensive uniqueness that American fans expected. Rodman added: “Going into the World Cup it was chaotic and there was a lot of adjustment. “I find it hard to know where you stand.”

In four matches at the tournament, the USWNT scored just four goals––three of them against Vietnam––before being eliminated in the round of 16 by Sweden. It was the worst performance ever at a World Cup for the United States, who had never previously finished in third place at this tournament. “Having a coach going through a World Cup for the first time, with half the team going through it for the first time,” she added, “I think there are a lot of uncertain and unknown factors. ”

Andonovski resigned immediately after the World Cup and has since been replaced by the English coach Emma Hayes, who officially took charge of the USWNT last month after a successful 12-year career with Chelsea FC of the Women’s Super League. “The way she connects with the players is very good,” Rodman said of Hayes. “I think the honesty and straightforwardness that she has with everyone is going to be a huge help to everyone’s confidence and how they play the game.”

The changes have extended from the touchlines to the field, with Rapinoe and other longtime USWNT leaders such as Julie Ertz And Kelley O’Hara announced his retirement last year.

Ten months after the disappointment at the bottom, Rodman believes the national team has more clarity. Obviously there are more young people. Average age of list that Hayes selected for a pair of friendlies this month against South Korea is 26 years old, underlining the generational change in the squad. In the current structure, Rodman said, “Be a little more upfront and upfront about what your role is, what the new coach wants us to do.”

“I feel like we are more connected as a team and we are working for each other,” she said. “Not that we weren’t like that before, but I think lately it’s been a team effort and not just relying on the skill and magic moments of a few people.”

As Rodman and her teammates forged a new identity, they began to look like the old USWNT. After a shock loss to Mexico in February, the team has rattled off seven straight victories, building vital momentum ahead of next month’s Olympics in Paris. Hayes has not yet named his squad for the tournament, but barring injury, Rodman will have the opportunity to participate virtually.

She showed cause against South Korea, shining alongside other young players as the USWNT won both matches by a combined score of 7-0. In the second friendly match, Rodman showed the relentless energy and technical qualities that make her one of the team’s most complete attacking players. She tormented the Korean defense with fierce runs down the right wing, helping set up two goals for her teammates––setting up the first Sophia Smith before helping the 17-year-old phenom Lily Yohannes on the other hand.

Rodman, 22, is a pioneer in the USWNT youth movement, a star pioneer to lead the team into a new era. World-class athleticism is in her blood; her father, Dennis Rodman, is one of the greatest and most eccentric players in NBA history. He was not an active presence in her upbringing, like her mother, Michelle Moyer, raised both Trinity and her brother. But there is no lingering resentment. “I have nothing but wonderful things to say about him,” Trinity Rodman said of her father. “I modeled a lot of my game after him and I think you can see that.”


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