The new-look U.S. women’s national team debuted with a 3-0 win against China on Dec. 2. The December camp roster put together by interim head coach Twila Kilgore and incoming head coach Emma Hayes features younger faces and fewer established American soccer icons.

And the youth of the USWNT are already flashing their chemistry, including connecting on goals.

Mia Fishel and Jaedyn Shaw were subbed into the game at halftime, and their connection was apparent. Shaw assisted on Trinity Rodman’s tap-in goal in the 77th minute, and Fishel was in front of the net with them, keeping pace and itching to add to the play.

“I think they’ve been coached at the youth level from coaches that instill similar concepts just watching from [outside] and it’s been really neat to see their progression,” Kilgore said of the duo, who both debuted for the national team this fall.

Kilgore described perfectly the understanding that Fishel, 22, and Shaw, 19, have together on the attacking line.

“One thing that helps is that Jaedyn is always looking to play forward and Mia is looking to provide a forward option. And Jaedyn is very good at moving off of that.” Kilgore said. “That’s got to be part of it. And I think they’re both hungry for the goals. . . I actually think they’ve done a really good job of finding each other in moments when the other has been open.”

In addition to both players wanting to contribute on the scoresheet, they’ve become fast friends off the pitch. And Kilgore believes that to be another reason Fishel and Shaw click so well together. 

“I actually just had this conversation with them and they’ve both voiced that it has a lot to do with their personal relationship that they’ve started to develop here in camp, which is an interesting thing,” Kilgore said.

Serena Williams met with U.S. women’s national team stars after watching their 3-0 win Saturday against China.

The retired tennis great cheered on the USWNT at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, alongside husband Alexis Ohanian and daughter Olympia. The family are investors in NWSL club Angel City FC.

After the match, the 23-time Grand Slam champion took the time to meet with USWNT players, including Trinity Rodman, who contributed a goal and two assists, as well as Midge Purce, Sophia Smith, Naomi Girma, Lynn Williams and Alyssa Thompson.

“She was very sweet, very humble, which is refreshing and amazing,” Rodman said. “And obviously we all look up to her, one of the greatest female athletes in the world. So to meet her in person and see how she was incredible.”

When Rodman met with reporters after the game, she explained her delay by noting that Williams wanted to meet with her. And Williams asked for her jersey from the match — but the 21-year-old forward already had gifted it to a fan. Rodman, though, found another jersey to give to the tennis legend.

“I gave one of my jerseys away to a fan, and then I walked across the field, and somebody said, ‘Serena wants to meet you,’” Rodman said. “I was like, ‘Serena who?’ They were like, ‘Serena Williams.’ I walked over there, and she’s like, ‘Can I have your jersey?’ I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ I dug in the dirty bag from the beginning of the half to find mine and gave it to her.”

The USWNT will close out the year with another friendly against China at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday in Frisco, Texas.

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Serena Williams speaks with Naomi Girma and Sophia Smith after the USWNT's 3-0 win against China. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images for USSF)
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Serena Williams shakes hands with Midge Purce, who helped set up the final goal of the match. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images for USSF)
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Serena William and daughter Olympia take a photo with USWNT forwards Lynn Williams and Alyssa Thompson. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images for USSF)
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Serena Williams poses for a photo with USWNT interim head coach Twila Kilgore after the 3-0 win. (Brad Smith/ISI Photos/Getty Images for USSF)

U.S. women’s national team forward Trinity Rodman milly rocked in front of China’s net in the first friendly of two friendlies between the squads. And her celebratory dance was well deserved.

In the 77th minute, Rodman found herself wide open in front of China’s net, where she tapped in a cross from Jaedyn Shaw for the USWNT’s third goal of the match. Her “dancey dance,” as she called it, served as the cherry on top of a standout performance for the 21-year-old in Saturday’s 3-0 win at DRV PNK Stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Along with her goal, Rodman contributed two assists, becoming the second-youngest player in fifteen years to log three goal contributions in a single game — Mallory Swanson clocked the same achievement in 2018 in a match against Denmark.

Rodman is one of the faces of the youth movement on the USWNT roster. The team entered its final matches of 2023 in a state of flux, with a new head coach in Emma Hayes incoming and the next generation of stars taking the reins.

“This camp is, we’ve been saying ‘starting fresh,’ just with the World Cup and everything, and Emma, being able to meet her, and obviously having new faces and being able to pay off younger faces,” Rodman said to TNT after the match.

There is still some veteran presence on the current USWNT roster, and the youth and the vets are already working together — Rodman assisted on goals from Lindsey Horan, 29, and Sophia Smith, 23, both staples of the starting lineup. And after a woman of the match-worthy performance, Rodman may become one too.

“In Trin’s words, she’s got a different level of focus,” USWNT interim head coach Twila Kilgore said. “She’s just been really intentional. We see that in training. We see that in games, and she’s starting to play more and more with the people around her as well. She’s obviously a very gifted individual player, and she’s looking to play more with her teammates.”

The USWNT will close out the year with another friendly against China at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday in Frisco, Texas.

U.S. women’s national team forward Trinity Rodman plans to tune into the four-part documentary on Netflix chronicling the team’s journey at the 2023 World Cup.

Already two trailers have been released for the docuseries, which will premiere on the streaming platform on Dec. 12. The series, titled “Under Pressure,” recounts the USWNT’s campaign for a World Cup three-peat at the 2023 tournament, which ended in a disappointing Round of 16 shootout loss to Sweden.

“We’re all talking about this. I think for me personally, it is a lot of emotions, and I think it will be for a while,” Rodman told reporters on Wednesday, admitting that she hasn’t watched the preview yet. “I will be watching though because I think we all need to see behind the scenes and see the journey that we went on, as much as it does kind of hurt.

“I do feel like we all need to reflect and see how much we went through together so then we can grow in the future. I think it’s going to be really cool for everyone to see and for us to grow as people and as teammates to each other. It’s gonna be tough though.”

And while they didn’t get the result they wanted at the World Cup, Rodman is excited for outsiders to “see the work that we put in.”

“It will be really interesting. I mean, I think with Netflix, they’ve done a few of these four-part documentaries and they’ve been really interesting on a lot of different subjects and sports,” said defender Emily Fox, who has yet to watch the second trailer. “I think when the documentary comes out, I definitely will be watching it.”

The USWNT is preparing to play China PR on Saturday, Dec. 2 and Tuesday, Dec. 5 in their final games of 2023. Next year, they’ll start the work of reclaiming gold at the 2024 Paris Olympics. Under new head coach Emma Hayes, they’ll be focused on winning, just as they were in Australia and New Zealand, where Rodman said they were barely aware of the Netflix film crew.

“I think for all of us, our heads were down with all the outside noise.  And I think going into the thing, we did say we came together as a team and said there is so much outside noise and we cannot pay mind,” Rodman said of the World Cup. “We are here for one thing, and that’s to win. And that’s all we were thinking about was training and winning the next game.”

Players on the U.S. women’s national team reflected on meeting new head coach Emma Hayes on Wednesday, with Trinity Rodman calling the introduction “great.”

Hayes flew to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to meet with the team ahead of their final friendlies of the year. She won’t stay for the games, but in just two days, she made a impression. Hayes, currently the head coach of Chelsea, won’t join the USWNT until Chelsea’s season ends in May 2024.

“She’s amazing so far,” forward Rodman said. “Obviously, it’s only been two days. So there’s only so much you can find out about a person and I’d never met her before. So initial impressions have been really good.”

“First impressions of Emma are very welcoming, exciting and eager to really be a part of this team and get to work,” defender Emily Fox said. “So I’m really excited to have her as a coach and I know that we’re all gonna learn a lot from her.”

To Rodman, the biggest priority over the coming months will be Hayes building relationships with the U.S. players despite not physically being around the team. Interim coach Twila Kilgore will serve that role in Hayes’ absence.

“I think the biggest thing with her coming in is getting to know us as players because she’s not going to be able to build the foundation or start anything with us if she doesn’t really get to know us as people and know our characteristics on and off the field,” Rodman said.

But Hayes has also communicated to the players that she doesn’t want them to stray from their identities, and Rodman has heard from her peers that Hayes lives up to that standard.

“She wants us to be the players that we came into these camps as. She doesn’t want us molded into something else. She doesn’t want to stray away from who we are,” Rodman said.

“I’ve talked to a lot of people who have known her and have been coached by her, so I heard all good things. The relationships are always good with her. The coaching is amazing. She wants to win, but she also caters to what the players needs are, not just what her needs are to win.”

Hayes will also bring a much-needed international perspective to the USWNT. As the sport continues to grow and evolve abroad, some have questioned whether the U.S. has adjusted accordingly after their worst-finish ever at a World Cup in 2023. Hayes’ experience coaching in the Women’s Super League and in the U.S., with the NWSL’s Chicago Red Stars, makes her a unique fit for the squad.

“With this team, we’ve always been disruptors and trying to break barriers and just get better and better,” Fox said. “I think with the hiring of Emma, that just proves it once again. … First impressions, just really excited to have her because I think she brings in a different perspective. But she also has those similarities and always wanting to win, always wanting to disrupt, push for more and be the best.”

The Washington Spirit were dealt two crushing blows on NWSL Decision Day.

First, star forward Trinity Rodman received a red card in the club’s regular-season finale against the North Carolina Courage. Then, moments later, Courage forward Tyler Lussi scored what would be the only goal in the 1-0 decision, ending the Spirit’s postseason hopes.

Rodman initially was given a yellow card after tripping North Carolina’s Denise O’Sullivan from behind, but after a VAR review it was elevated to a red card. As a result, Rodman exited the match in the 23rd minute, and the 21-year-old also would have been unavailable for the Spirit’s first game in the 2023 NWSL playoffs. Rodman broke out into tears after the referee showed her the red card.

The twin disappointments marked the end of what had been an encouraging stretch for Rodman: She scored two goals for the U.S. women’s national team in friendly matches in late September, and then scored the game-winning goal in the Spirit’s 2-1 win over the Kansas City Current on Oct. 1.

That the burst came after Rodman went scoreless at the 2023 World Cup was an encouraging sign for the up-and-coming star.

“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.”

The Spirit played the OL Reign to a 0-0 draw on Oct. 6, setting up the playoff-deciding matchup Sunday with the Courage. After Rodman’s penalty, which appeared to be an accident, the Spirit let down their guard, and Lussi and the Courage capitalized.With the win, North Carolina clinched a postseason berth, setting up a quarterfinal clash with Gotham FC.

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.”

Trinity Rodman is a rising star for the U.S. women’s national team, and she has had plenty of inspiration.

Speaking on Sunday, the 21-year-old pointed to a trio of forwards from the 2015 and 2019 World Cup-winning teams as role models for her own career journey: Megan Rapinoe, Christen Press and Tobin Heath.

“Megan Rapinoe has been a big one for me,” Rodman said. “Christen Press and Tobin Heath have been big ones for me.

“Obviously, playing with Pinoe, who’s amazing, to be there for her retirement was amazing. But she just works so hard, she’s changed the game of soccer and she brings her own personality and swag to the game. And I hope to do the same.”

While Rodman has played alongside Rapinoe in 2022 and 2023, her first and Rapinoe’s last years with the USWNT, she has not played with Press or Heath. Her first call-up came in January 2022, and neither Press nor Heath have played for the national team since 2021 as both have dealt with various injuries. Still, Rodman looks up to them, pointing in a different interview to Heath’s “creativity” as a particular inspiration.

Since the 2023 World Cup, Rodman has started to come into her own, both on the USWNT and in the NWSL with the Washington Spirit. At the World Cup, USWNT interim head coach Twila Kilgore saw a switch flick in Rodman, and since then the young forward has been on a tear.

Rodman scored in each of the team’s September friendlies against South Africa, and in her next NWSL match, a sign of what is to come for the forward as she continues to embrace her role.

Her Spirit teammate, 24-year-old defender Tara McKeown, also spoke about her role models, citing longtime USWNT captain Becky Sauerbrunn as a defensive paragon.

“Growing up I always looked up to Mia Hamm, and I used to be a nine so that kinda made more sense,” she said. “But now, switching to center-back, watching Becky Sauerbrunn has been a good role model for me and trying to learn from her game.”

Trinity Rodman is in the middle of a stellar stretch of soccer.

The forward scored in each of the U.S. Women’s National Team’s friendlies Sept. 21 and Sept. 24, and then, on Saturday, she came up big for the Washington Spirit.

Rodman broke a tie with a goal in stoppage time to lift the Spirit to a 2-1 victory over the KC Current and their first league win since June.

“It’s been a little rough the past few games,” defender Tara McKeown told the media afterward. “But just to get that win and know that we can come back from hard situations going into fighting for a playoff spot and into the playoffs, I think that that’s really going to help us.”

The victory snapped a seven-game winless streak for Washington (7-8-5, 29 points), which moved into fourth place in the NWSL standings.

The goal was Rodman’s fifth of the NWSL season and her first in league play since June 3. Rodman, 21, did not score in the World Cup despite starting three games.

Her goal came Saturday after she outran her defender and then smacked a left-footed shot into the back of the net. She celebrated with the dance made famous by former Washington Wizards star John Wall, a wide smile spread across her face. Ouleymata Sarr scored the other goal for the Spirit, in the 52nd minute, after Debora Cristiane de Oliveira opened the game’s scoring for with a 21st minute goal for the Current.

Washington hosts the OL Reign on Friday, and then wraps up the regular season Oct. 15 on the road against the North Carolina Courage.

Trinity Rodman is coming into her own for the U.S. women’s national team, and she credits the “extremely competitive” environment as a catalyst for her success.

While Rodman is just 21 years old, the journey to the USWNT has been a long one for the star forward, who told Soccer Bible that she first started taking soccer seriously at 6 or 7 years old. And when she started watching soccer, that sparked a “different” type of love for the game.

“I didn’t watch soccer as much as I think a lot of people did,” she said. “But when I did watch Tobin Heath or Alex Morgan, seeing them on the field, particularly Tobin Heath, watching her creativity and seeing the things that she would pull off in a game intrigued me so much and it made me want to do the same things on the field. I think watching them made me realize that actually that’s something I want to do, something I want to get better at, something I wanted to do in a stadium.”

Now, she says, she “thrives” on the pressure of the big moments. None have been bigger than her first World Cup, which she called “mind blowing” and “insane.” And the shift to the national team has been difficult, leaving her feeling like she is “behind” and needs to catch up.

Yet she is finding her way, as she proved in the last two games for the national team. Her connection with Morgan on the front line resulted in a goals in each of the September friendlies against South Africa.

“The environment is extremely competitive, they have such high standards that were set long before I came along,” she said. “And you’re trying to match energies all the time, trying to build these connections as best as possible with the lack of time I’ve had with these girls.

“The lack of experience I’ve had in this environment has been difficult, but the people around me have been great and they push me to limits I didn’t know that I could be pushed to, so that’s also been very interesting to see.”