Reading’s Deanne Rose inspires small town girls

The Canada international hopes her success at Reading will set an example for future football stars

You still couldn’t fill Wembley Stadium even if you doubled the population of New Tecumseth.

The county town of Simcoe, Ontario, Canada (pop. 41,439) is north of Toronto, and in the nearby gymnasium of St Thomas Aquinas in Tottenham (pop. 4,558) there is a banner emblazoned the name and number of one of the region. most famous girls: Deanne Rose.

But growing up playing football in a place where ice hockey – or even curling – tended to trump the beautiful game when it came to getting attention had its downsides. That’s why Rose smiles every time she sees a kid wearing a football shirt.

“It’s amazing, because I think people don’t realize how inspiring it is for real athletes to see the influence we have,” the Reading star said.

“Especially for me in Canada, knowing that girls can look up to professional football players and know they can make a living from it, know they can be on TV, know they can do what they love.

“I just think that alone is so inspiring because it shows that platform and the reach that we actually have.”

Rose signed his first professional contract, a two-year deal with the Royals, last summer after playing for the University of Florida Gators, scoring 18 goals in 51 appearances.

Although she had long since moved on from small-town life, moving to Reading (pop. 347,510) was still a big step.

“It was really nerve-wracking, exciting, all in one sentence,” Rose said.

“Because I was leaving my college football behind, but then starting a new journey. I knew it was going to get harder, but I was going to get nicer, so many emotions were flowing when I signed that contract and it was official that I was moving on.

First, however, was the small matter of the Olympics. Canada had never finished better than a bronze medal at Rio 2016, a game in which they opened the scoring in the medal game. Five years later, in Tokyo, she leaves with a gold medal.

“It was definitely a boost [heading into the season],” she said. “I was on cloud nine. If anything, I had to get away with it a bit, but in terms of my confidence at the start of my first professional season, it definitely helped me.

The call came just before the Games. Would Rose consider moving to Reading?

So began a new chapter for the 23-year-old, but she wasn’t alone. Rose joined a revamped royal team that also welcomed names like Gemma Evans, Natasha Dowie, Chloe Peplow, Justine Vanhaevermaet and Faye Bryson to the fold.

With so many new signings, there was definitely a first day of school feeling when Rose and his teammates took on Manchester United in their season opener.

“It was really, really interesting,” Rose said. “Because obviously I played for Canada a couple of times and then I played in college, but it was such a unique experience.

“And it was crazy because you think, like, you walk onto a pitch, you play football, I’ve been doing this for years, but it was so different doing it in Reading kit with these teammates in a league that I didn’t really know at the time.

“We went through a tough time at the start of the season, and I think that speaks to the chemistry that we hadn’t had yet, it was just about building it.”

In winter, something started to click – and in just four minutes, Rose cemented her place as someone to watch in the BFA WSL.

It was December 11 when she pounced on a loose ball and ran through midfield before passing Emma Harries on the edge of the box. And once she got the ball back, there was no doubt Rose’s eventual 1-0 winner would be one of seven goals Chelsea have conceded so far this season.

It was categorically both worthy of a BFA WSL and a personal triumph, but looking at it through rose-colored glasses offers a different perspective.

“It was a highlight for me because it was my first goal against a team like Chelsea,” Rose said, “but also the way my team played – I had never seen them play like that. really showed the potential of the group, the hard work and the courage of the team.

Rose settles down. The BFA WSL, she said, has been transformative.

“I have changed a lot,” he added. “Being a pro is very different from being a college athlete. And I think adjusting to that lifestyle, adjusting to that pace, learning more about myself and my body as I I get more minutes and have more time to focus on football, it has been my challenge and also a blessing to find that for me.

“It’s amazing to be in a country where football is so immersed in the culture. It’s warming sometimes because you feel like you’re doing what you’re supposed to do.

This summer, however, she’s heading back across the pond to run a girls’ soccer camp in Simcoe County.

She added: ‘I always knew that because I was from such a small town and sometimes, especially in a small town, it’s hard to believe that you can be bigger than the town and where you’re from. .

“So I think I’m staying true to my roots and supporting kids who are in the same position I was in 10 or 15 years ago.”

In other words, she didn’t have a Deanne Rose, but they will.

About Walter J. Leslie

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