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Trinity Rodman finds ‘freedom’ with USWNT and Washington Spirit

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(Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports)

Trinity Rodman has come into her own in 2023, for club and country.

The young forward has been vocal about wanting to build her own career, away from her famous father Dennis Rodman’s shadow. And this year, she’s doing it.

Instead of buckling under the weight of the U.S. women’s national team badge, the 21-year-old forward has stepped up. While the World Cup didn’t go the way anyone in the program hoped, it provided a necessary learning experience. And Rodman responded with two goals in two September friendlies against a World Cup Round of 16 team in South Africa.

“I do feel like there was a type of freedom. I don’t know where that came from,” she told Uproxx about the USWNT’s September camp. “The World Cup obviously didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but I do think it was a learning experience for everybody. … I think this camp there was a lot more trust, communication and just willingness to play for each other. And if things weren’t going right, we fixed it really fast.”

Of Rodman’s six goals with the USWNT, four have come in 2023 — including two against Wales in the team’s World Cup send-off game in July. And while she has just five goals and two assists in NWSL play, short of her career highs, she ranks sixth in the league in shots per 90 minutes (3.30).

And she has been instrumental in helping the Washington Spirit make a playoff push in the latter half of the season. With a game-winner at the end of September, she helped the Spirit snap a seven-game winless streak and move into better positioning in the race for a postseason berth.

The pressure is nothing new for Rodman, who has dealt with lofty expectations since she was selected No. 1 overall by the Spirit in the 2021 NWSL Draft. After forgoing college to turn pro, she won NWSL Rookie of the Year in 2021 and has carried the weight of expectations ever since. But if you ask Rodman, she is not taking herself too seriously, and she is always looking to enjoy the moment.

“I’m similar both off the field and on. I think it’s really important not to take yourself too seriously,” Rodman told Forbes. “I think you can get, as a player, stuck in the mindset of trying too hard to prove yourself.”

That fun side of Rodman is part of what makes her so good, whether it be solving crimes during downtime at the World Cup or playing pickleball and Fortnite. And if you ask Rodman about EA Sports FC 24, she’s excited to play that too — just not with her own player avatar.

“I’m definitely going to play, but I just feel like I can’t play as myself,” she told Uproxx. “I’d want to play against myself to see what she’s all about.”