Rose Lavelle, USWNT ready for Tokyo Olympics soccer tournament

Rose Lavelle has represented the U.S. women's national soccer team dozens of times. She's played with her idols, flourished on the largest stages and won a World Cup. 

Yet, there's one achievement the 26-year-old midfielder hasn't accomplished: represent her country in the Olympics. And at the moment, coach Vlatko Andonovski is on a tight schedule to submit the 18-player roster ahead of July's games. 

In the meantime, Lavelle is balancing rehabbing a nagging ankle with her club and national team schedules, anxiously awaiting Andonovski's decision. 

"The Olympics is the pinnacle of sports," Lavelle said, speaking to USA TODAY Sports as part of her partnership with Icy Hot, the first female ambassador for the brand. "To like potentially be a part of that is amazing." 

Lavelle's memories of the Olympics are jumbled into a collage. No one moment stands out. Instead, when she considered her favorite memory, it was sitting on a couch, every four years, consuming the 24-hour cycle of competition like "a sports junkie." 

Jun 13, 2021; United States midfielder Rose Lavelle (16) traps the ball against Jamaica defender Deneisha Blackwood (14) in the first half during a WNT Summer Series international friendly soccer match at BBVA Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports ORG XMIT: IMAGN-451416 ORIG FILE ID:  20210613_jcd_sy9_123.JPG

If she makes it, the expectations will be high and the road to Olympic glory will be difficult. The U.S. team has two games against Mexico before departing for Tokyo, the first one July 1 in East Hartford, Connecticut. The two teams play again four days later at the same venue.

The Americans open the Olympic tournament against Sweden on July 21, then they face New Zealand on July 24. The USA's group stage finishes against Australia on July 27. 

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