How ex-NBA star influenced player who could lift U.S. at Women's World Cup
Trinity Rodman. Troy Wayrynen-USA TODAY Sports

How ex-NBA star influenced player who could lift U.S. at Women's World Cup

Trinity Rodman is one of the brightest young stars of the new-look U.S. Women's National Team. Only 21, she already has an impressive résumé that includes the National Women's Soccer League Rookie of the Year award in 2021 and the biggest contract in the young league's history. 

With several star American forwards missing the World Cup because of injury, Rodman could be a defining player for the U.S. She's a skilled forward with unusually refined attacking instincts for a player her age.

Her secret weapon? Basketball — as played by her famous father, five-time NBA champion Dennis Rodman.

Trinity Rodman is a star athlete in her own right, but much of her attacking spirit came from watching videos of her father. 

"I watched my dad play a lot more than people really know," Rodman told the Los Angeles Times. She classified him as a true "hunter" — and learned to bring that spirit to her own game.

"It's hunting in front of the goal. It's hunting when you lose the ball. And I think that's a huge part of my game — regains, tracking back and being the first person to get a foot, a head, a knee, a shin on something that pops up."

While Rodman learned a lot from her father's basketball career, he wasn't present in her family's life. Rodman was raised by her mother, and while she's gracious and generous with her credit to him, she's eager to find athletic success on her own terms.

So far, she's achieving her goal. That Trinity Rodman is related to that Rodman from the NBA is little more than fun trivia for hardcore fans of U.S. women's soccer. She has built a ferocious reputation for herself in very little time based on her own hard work in the nascent NWSL. After all, it was her goal that fired the Washington Spirit to the league final in 2021—and her assist that won them a title. She was just 19 when she lifted the league championship trophy.

Rodman's killer instincts will come in handy for the USWNT at the World Cup, which begins July 20 in New Zealand and Australia. With leading goalscorer Mallory Pugh Swanson injured and unavailable, Rodman must fill the gap. She'll be assisted by fellow NWSL stars and World Cup debutants Sophia Smith and Alyssa Thompson.

"I think with this team that everyone expects success, obviously, based off of the past," Rodman told ESPN. "But there are a lot of new players and a lot of connections that need to be built for the first game... it's a lot harder than people think."

Still, when asked if she and the U.S. could take home an unprecedented third straight World Cup trophy, her answer was quintessential Rodman: blunt and confident.

"My expectations are that we're the most ruthless team, we're never going to give up, and we're going to get the title."

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