Playing forward at the University of Florida means having to live up to the legacy of players like Abby Wambach and Savannah Jordan. But only two games into the season, Florida may have found a perfect fit in freshman Deanne Rose.
Rose scored her first collegiate goal 11 minutes into Florida’s 5-0 win over Troy on Sunday.
Many freshmen are plagued with inexperience when they step onto the field for the first time at the collegiate level. However, Rose has plenty of experience playing high quality competition and it shows.
“She’s a really dynamic player,” UF coach Becky Burleigh said. “Whether she comes from out wide or up the middle, she’s a very hard player to track. And I think she’s only going to get better.”
Rose is from Alliston, Ontario, and made her first appearance for the Canadian national team in December of 2015 when she was only 16. She continued to make appearances for the Canadian team during Olympic qualifying and traveled with the squad as an Olympian at Rio de Janeiro in 2016.
In Rio, Rose was frequently featured in the squad and even earned a start in a victory over eventual champion Germany in the group stage. She saw the field in the quarterfinals and the semifinals as well, but saved her best performance for the bronze-medal match against the host country, Brazil.
Rose scored the opening goal for Canada and assisted on the game-winning goal to veteran teammate Christine Sinclair, securing the bronze medal. In total, she’s registered seven goals and five assists in her young Canadian career.
But even quicker than Rose’s impact on the Canadian national team is her impact on this Florida Gators squad.
Even though Rose was able to find the stat sheet in her second game as a Gator, her contributions to the team go well beyond the boxscore.
Rose’s ability to find space behind defenses can set up scoring opportunities for herself and her teammates in a multitude of ways.
In an exhibition Friday, a threaded ball into the path of Rose was able to break down Florida Atlantic’s defense, and she drew a foul in the penalty area in overtime, setting up the game-winning penalty for Gabby Seiler. Her runs on the wing against Troy opened up acres of space for her teammates, who nearly found the back of the net on a Rose delivery on multiple occasions.
“I think a lot of my teammates look for it,” Rose said. “That’s the first step is me making the run and them recognizing that I’m making the run, and the quality will be there as we play together more.”
The Gators will have an opportunity to test their quality Friday when they host No. 2 Stanford at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. And the opportunity that a match with the Cardinal presents in one that excites Rose.
“We’ve played some good competition, but I know it’s going to be a step up just based on last year and what my teammates have said,” she said. “So I’m really excited for some challenges and for this team to rise to the occasion.”
You can follow Mark Stine on Twitter at @mstinejr, and contact him at email@example.com.
Canada's Deanne Rose, left, fends off Guyana's Kayle De Souza during Olympic qualifying action Thursday. Rose scored two goals in a breakout performance. (PAT SULLIVAN / THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)