Creative Soccer Culture

Trinity Rodman On Her Rapid Rise, Playing For The National Team, & Being A Role Model

Catching up with one of the best young female players in the game right now, we spoke with Trinity Rodman about her journey in the game, how she deals with pressure, and her relationship with the fans.

You might recognise the name, but you’ll be sure to recognise the game; Trinity Rodman has burst onto the scene, establishing herself over the last couple of years as one of the best female players in the NWSL. At age 18, she became the youngest drafted player in NWSL history after being selected second in the 2021 NWSL College Draft, and she subsequently exceeded expectations, earning NWSL Rookie of the YearNWSL Best XI, and U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year honours following her first season in 2021. Not a bad way to announce yourself.

Of course, with such a rising status in the game, it wasn’t long before the USWNT came calling, and, in equal measure, it didn’t take Rodman long to get up and running in the scoring stakes for the national side either. With such an epic rise, it’s easy to forget that Rodman has only just become legally old enough to drink alcohol in the States, something she was quick to point out as we spoke with her about her journey. A pleasure to converse with and wise beyond her years, you can read the full interview below, as we found out all about her early beginnings in the game, her winning mentality, and how much she values her relationship with the fans.

Can you set the scene for us early on? What sparked the real love for football for you?

I think I always loved it. I don’t think there was ever a moment where I “knew”, you know? As soon as I stepped on the field, I enjoyed it. I do believe it’s because I felt the most comfortable, even at a young age, every game that I played in, every time that I was on the field.

Even at such a young age, just messing about when it doesn't even mean anything I think I wanted to win more than anybody on the field. I wanted to score. I wanted to pass. I wanted to do all of it. I just loved it, and to feel that way from such a young age I don't think it's normal, and it says a lot about where I am now.

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We all have early memories of the game. What were they like for you?

The first time that I knew I took it very seriously and it sparked something in me was when I was around six or seven. I would leave the field crying if we lost. Even if we won and I didn’t score enough I would cry to my mum. I would literally Throw a tantrum, because I wanted to do better and I wanted to score more, I wanted to win. I was always so frustrated when we didn't get the result.

But I think a different type of love also sparked when I started watching soccer. I didn't watch soccer as much as I think a lot of people did. 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 realise that actually that's something I want to do, something I want to get better at, something I wanted to do in a stadium. That was probably when I was about 11, where my competitive nature and just my love for the game shifted along with the exposure to creativity and it all really came together.

When you said you got upset, 'cause you didn't score enough as a youngster, how many was that, like 18?

I know, right? I'd score four and still be upset.

I bet part of you still has that now, regardless of what level you're at.

Yeah. For sure, it will always be there.

So, for you, did watching those players make this feel like it was a realistic opportunity, a realistic career?

Yeah, but it happened pretty late. I don't know when if it really sunk in for me that it could actually go somewhere. I think obviously when you're playing at a high level and you love the game, your goal is to be a professional soccer player and play for the national team. I don't know if I ever truly thought it was realistic until right after college, before I entered the draft. As soon as I got an agent I was like, whoa, they're going to help me. Just learning more about it and being in contact with people, it really started to settle in that it's really not just a dream of a 12 year old, but actually it's the reality of someone who's very talented and could go somewhere with it.

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You mentioned the drafts and there were records that fell. You were the youngest player to be drafted into the NWSL at that time – how did that feel?

It was a little overwhelming as I'd never experienced anything like that. Draft night there were so many media obligations, and I'd never really done interviews, never really knew about anything. So, yeah, it was a lot. But it was the greatest feeling to know that all the work that I put in, it actually turned into something, and it wasn't just a dream. It was a dream come true and I'll remember that night for the rest of my life.

Having moments like that probably gives you hunger to have moments like that again. Do you feel pressure in those big moments or is it something that you thrive off?

I think I thrive off it now. Before, it was a little bit more nerve wracking. But now that I've experienced a little bit more I'm nervous, but that’s just because there's more people watching. It's never really pressure. It's just more eyes on you, more attention. I've just learned to ignore it and play the game that I've played before, when there was only 20 parents watching, rather than 10-20 thousand fans. But it's just attention at the end of the day. I don't see it as pressure.

You arrived on the scene with your own individual and very brilliant style. You're a player with presence both on and off the pitch. How have you enjoyed the wider aspect of life that football brings so far? You've already mentioned it as a creative outlet, but how does that carry off the pitch as well as on it?

I think I always wanted to be more than just a soccer player. It wasn’t a priority, but I think I bring more to the table, and that’s enabled more through social media. You make connections through people in the game, and I think my platform has given me the freedom and ability to connect with the young fans that are out there. Then, when I connect with people on the internet and when I see comments and when I’m responding and when I talk to people after games, like the little girls, I just see myself really not all that long ago. Even people my age, it’s crazy to see the amount of support.

I think the ability to connect with people who don't see you as just a human, they see you as a professional soccer player, a famous person, a celebrity, things like that, it’s just not that. I live a similar life to everybody else, it’s just more in the spotlight.

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That shift from having role models to being one, how does it feel to have the power to change people's lives and inspire people?

It's obviously awesome, just being able to type something on a phone and know that it's bringing a smile to somebody's face. The overall reaction of people when I have conversations with them or If I respond to them, or even if I follow them, it's crazy how much power social media has. Little stuff like that, you can already tell the difference in the way people approach you? The first time they approach you they might be nervous, crying. You have one conversation with them and the next time you see them, they approach you as if you've known each other for years, and you’re friends on a soccer team. It's been so fascinating to see, but it's been great. I love that part of it.

That connection with the fans is a big difference between the men's and the women's game. Do you feel that coming from the stands?

Yeah, 100 percent, and it's great.

What is it like getting all these messages and the love from fans before and after games?

Yeah, it's awesome. It's one thing watching yourself and to have that  proud moment of seeing how far you've come, but for others to see it and to appreciate the personality and the creativity in the fight that you bring to the game, it's a different story. I can't even start with the amount of cards and messages I've received from fans that I've never even spoken to saying how much I’ve affected their lives in a positive way. It's so great. It makes me feel like the best human just for living! I just want to Continue to expand that relationship as time goes on.

Are you someone who keeps that sort of stuff? Are you sentimental in that sense?

Yeah, absolutely. I got a birthday card from a fan I gave a jersey to a couple of games ago, and it's now in my room. I get notes and I get drawings. I got this handmade sticker from a fan, made on a digital app, and I put it on my phone case. It’s been on there for a month or two now. Yeah, it’s all cool stuff.

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Support is obviously very important to how you perform. If you're feeling confident and happy off the pitch, you'll likely play well on the pitch. You obviously have a good relationship with your brother, for example. How would you describe the support you offer each other?

We're best friends for sure. It's been so awesome to see him grow and for him to be there while I'm growing. We have each other’s backs over everything. To be able to go through very similar but also very different journeys with different sports, obviously him being in college, me being a professional; me being a girl, him being a boy. There’s similarities in the competitiveness and the experiences with coaches and teammates and stuff, but also so many differences, and it’s been awesome to share them whilst also having each other’s backs, and learning and giving each other advice, because you wouldn't think he has advice for what I'm going through, but he does. And it's nice to have that comfort within your circle and he's growing so much as a basketball player and as a brother and it's just awesome to see.

With support in mind, we wouldn't be here without Red Bull. How would you like to explore that relationship? And why are they such a good fit for you specifically?

I think Red Bull is awesome. Not only their brand, but the people that they have that run it. Some brands that people partner with, and that even I’ve partnered with, it’s sometimes not always athlete first, it’s more what makes them look good, and they don't give the athlete any creativity or any say in what goes out. They tell you to pose for a picture or to write something down, and they’ll put it out – very prescriptive.

But Red Bull really give their athletes – in so many different sports – the ability to express themselves, from bikers doing something 1000 feet in the air on a ramp, to building a gym in someone’s house, they’re just putting athletes first and supporting us, thinking about the best way improve someone's game, not thinking what's the best way to make money?

They’re so great with just helping us not just as people, but as athletes. Simple things like when we're in recovery, they think about how they're going to help us for the next week. How can they help us in the long run? How can they help our families? They're very selfless. It's been amazing partnering with them and I’m excited for the future.

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You talked about the importance of expressing yourself. I’d imagine that makes you selective about the brands that you do work with. Ultimately, how is your mind made-up? Do they need to reflect what's in your head?

I don't like to say that I want to have all control, but I do have a voice, and I do have a lot to say, and I do like the way that I come across and I want it to be true to who I am. I don't want to play a role in what a brand wants and what pictures they want to see. I want it to be natural. I don't want people looking at a post and thinking “Oh, she got paid to do that one”. I wanted to look like I truly wanted to do something. And it's genuinely the way that I would address myself, though. It's definitely a big thing for me.

A broader question then, how would you describe yourself?

Feels like that should be an easier question, than it is! I'm going to say… Out of the.Box, creative, caring, energetic, driven. I always want to get better every day, But in doing that, I also want to bring the best energy that I can to the people around me while being true to myself. I feel like I bring a different type of energy to other people; it's being energetic, it's being goofy, it's making people laugh, even in the most awkward and dark times; it’s bringing my style and personality through clothes through a car, through what I say when I walk into the facility. It's all of that stuff. I'm proud of myself and the energy that I bring to the people around me every day.

What's the experience been like with the national team?

It's been hard. It's definitely been a shift. It's a new environment with the national team. It's my second year with the national team, and I feel like I'm behind and I need to catch up. The environment is extremely competitive, they have such high standards that were set long before I came along. 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.

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What goes through your head for the potential opportunity of playing at a World Cup?

I’ve just been trying to take the pressure off as much as possible in relation to that. My name even being said in relation to the World Cup is mind blowing, insane. Thinking that I was on the couch watching the last one by myself, not even on the radar, that's the crazy part. But the way I go about my everyday, the way I go about practice, is not about making the squad for the World Cup, it’s with the goal of being the best player that I can be, for club and national team. I tried to not think about it but also not put it as the prime focus every time I step on the field, 'cause it would be too much pressure. I just want continue to play the way that I’ve been playing and to help my team.

You've achieved so much already, at such a young age. How do you personally measure success?

That's a tough question. I would say that success isn't about gold medals or about how many trophies you win necessarily, it's more about what you brought to the table. And I think if you end every game, every week, every practise, every World Cup with not only did I bring my best performance, because that can only take you so far, but did I bring the best person to this group of girls every single day, did I make it enjoyable while getting a gold medal, I think that's more important than anything. So, at the end of the day If you're a shit person, you're not going to get the results, you're not going to be fun to be around and you're not going to be successful. It is not only about performance, it’s about how you treat other people and the relationships you build in order to have those connections in order to score those goals and to win those championships. So, I think it's a lot about how you carry yourself and what you bring to the table.

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It must feel good to be part of a team that’s so socially conscious, but that's also willing to accept people like yourself who are wanting to express themselves individually, while having a good time in the process?

The women's national team has done such an amazing job of making women's soccer become so accepted. It's amazing to be a part of it and to see, especially as a girl who watched it in the past and is now part of it. They obviously have an amazing foundation and they've been extremely successful. There have been plenty of teams in the past that have been extremely successful but don't connect with their fans, and this national team does a great job of making that connection.

What's the greatest thing about being Trinity Rodman right now?

I think the fact that I can connect with the youth a little bit better just because I'm experiencing similar things. Obviously, I play at a high level, but you can't change or go against the fact that I'm still just 21. Like, I just became legal to drink! That's crazy to think of for me. So, what I have is the ability to connect with them, have conversations that older players might not be able to. I think just in general there's no way of getting around the fact that a 16 year old isn't going to feel as comfortable going up to a Alex Morgan compared to a 21 year old Trinity Rodman who’s just started. So maybe they might feel intimidated a little bit less and I can offer that little bit more of a connection.

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Trinity Rodman wears the adidas X Crazyfast .1, which is available at

Daniel Jones

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