Trinity Rodman picked up the ball just beyond the penalty area and needed only one more touch to put it into the lower left corner of the net.
She’d scored her first goal for the US women’s national team just a month before her 20th birthday.
That was in April 2022, in a rout of Uzbekistan. The Women’s World Cup, which begins later this month, will be played on a much larger scale. Rodman belongs on any list of potential breakout players in Australia and New Zealand for a United States squad that will soon have to welcome a new generation of standouts.
However, with those expectations comes a new level of pressure. She’s dealt with it in numerous ways during her brief career, and she’s now ready for the next one.
“I’m so honored, proud, and thrilled to have this opportunity,” she remarked. “At this age, there’s so much time to accomplish things, but to be able to experience it this early has been so amazing, and I’m just so excited.”
Trinity Rodman, the daughter of basketball Hall of Famer Dennis Rodman, has emerged as a force for the Washington Spirit of the NWSL. Her poise and exquisite footwork make her a highlight waiting to happen, and it appears that Rodman will follow in the footsteps of great American attacking players such as Abby Wambach, Carli Lloyd, and Alex Morgan.
The question is whether she is prepared for that level of responsibility at the age of 21. On a squad that may require her to play a significant role.
“Ever since she came into the league, we could see the energy, creativity, and intensity that she brings,” said Vlatko Andonovski, national team coach. “I feel like every time she gets the ball, there’s a little expectation that something will happen, something will happen off of it.”
Rodman was 13 years old when the United States won its next World Cup, three years after Mia Hamm led the team to victory at home. Lloyd scored a hat trick in the championship game that year. One specific goal stood out.
“The final against Japan, when she scored from half-field,” Rodman recalls. “Obviously, that was one of the most important moments in soccer, but it will always be in my mind.” That was simply inhuman.”
Given her recklessness on the field, you can envision Rodman pulling off something similar, and her potential has been clear since entering the NWSL as the No. 2 pick in the 2021 draft. That April, she scored on her pro debut and went on to win Rookie of the Year accolades — and the Spirit won the championship. Rodman inked a contract that will make her the league’s highest-paid player in 2022.
After doing all of this while still a teen — and with a renowned last name to boot — it’s safe to say she’s no stranger to a certain level of adulation.
“I think for me, trying to block out the outside noise has been difficult, but also doable,” she explained. Obviously, coming off of the rookie year that I had, it was more than I ever expected to be, but that obviously opened up the doors for a lot of attention and a lot of expectations moving into the second season and so on.
Rodman’s coach with the Spirit, Mark Parsons, has sought to keep the strain from becoming too much.
“Trin was held in high regard. “I disagree with that, and I believe it is unfair,” Parsons added. I believe this is a 21-year-old, and things are coming thick and fast.” She’s handled everything with grace. I believe she is doing an excellent job of staying focused on what is most essential, which is being a good person, a good teammate, and progressing as a soccer player.”
Rodman, who has swiftly become a household figure in the sport, admits to being nervous about the forthcoming World Cup, both in terms of whether she’ll be selected and how she’ll perform.
“I think both,” Rodman responded. “Of course, there’s the initial, ‘Am I going to get that call?'” But then, if I do receive that call, I’ve never experienced anything remotely like, so I believe the fear of the unknown is undoubtedly in my head.”
She’ll compete in the World Cup as part of the United States’ bid for a third consecutive title. Lloyd has left the team, but Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have returned. Rodman is one of few players making their World Cup debuts.
With Mallory Swanson out due to a major knee injury, Rodman could play an even bigger role in bolstering the US offense. Despite her domestic success, Rodman has scored two goals in 17 games with the national squad. She admitted that her youth and inexperience made her initially hesitant.
“The more games I play, the better I get.” When I look back at one of my first games, I’m like, ‘Who? Was? “That?” she asked. “I looked at the first couple games and thought, ‘I’ve never played like that with the Spirit, so why should I play like that with the national team?'”
Rodman makes the game appear fun when she’s at her best. She’ll shoot from long range if given the chance, and she’s not hesitant to take on defenders. It’s the kind of skill set that can propel her to stardom, especially if she demonstrates it in the biggest games in front of the globe.
“With Trin, she defends, chases, runs, sprints, and presses people like no one else,” Parsons explained. “She knows how to beat people one-on-one, run in behind, finish, and set goals.” They are the characteristics that distinguish her.”