By RON FANFAIR
Every rose has a thorn as host country Brazil agonizingly found out in its bronze medal showdown with Canada’s women soccer team at the recently concluded Rio Olympics.
Deanne Rose, who at age 17 was the side’s youngest member, scored once, set up another and hit the crossbar to lead the national team to an exciting 2-1 victory and its second successive Games bronze medal.
In the 25th minute, she converted a square ball from Ashley Lawrence to open the scoring.
“Ashley did an incredible job of advancing the ball from a counter attack and I was glad that I was at the receiving end of the pass that allowed me to score,” she told Share.
Eight minutes after the break, Rose’s deft pass in the box led to Christine Sinclair’s 11th Olympic goal and 165th in 250 appearances for Canada since 2000, a year after Rose was born.
Just five minutes later, Rose almost provided Canada with a 3-0 lead when she intercepted a pass and blew past the Brazilian defence. With just the goalkeeper to beat, her shot hit the crossbar.
“I was disappointed I missed that goal because it could have sealed the issue and put less stress on our team,” she said.
Brazil reduced the lead in the 79th minute, but Canada withstood the pressure in the latter stages of the game to pull off the win.
“That was the most exciting and tense-filled game I have ever been part of,” said Rose, the third of four children. “The atmosphere was unbelievable.”
The Grade 12 student said the team’s senior players played a pivotal role in her seamless transition to the national program and helping her relax in the intense Olympic cauldron.
“They were very helpful and they made me feel comfortable,” she said. “That certainly helped me to just go on the field and play to the best of my ability.”
Rose’s support in Rio extended beyond her teammates.
Parents Dean Mighty and Anne-Marie Rose-Mighty, Jamaican immigrants, made the long trip to Brazil.
“We are extremely proud of Deanne,” said her mother who plays recreational soccer in her community. “While she has worked hard to get to this point, I expected this to happen probably when she was in university. It seems like an unbelievable dream that she’s an Olympian and bronze medallist.”
Rose has come a long way in a very short period of time.
Just over a year ago, she was at her Alliston home watching the International Soccer Federation (FIFA) Women’s World Cup in Canada.
“I was just a fan looking at Canada compete against the rest of the world,” she said.
Playing for Scarborough GS United and with just one call-up to an Under-15 camp, Rose got her big break when she was invited to an Under-17 camp last September in Burnbay where she caught the attention of national women’s coach, John Herdman who was in attendance.
Rose was requested to attend the national women’s soccer training camp in Vancouver in November. That was the first time that the squad was regrouping after finishing sixth at the Women’s World Cup and she was among a new crop of young players that Herdman used the camp to assess.
It didn’t take long for him to realize he had landed an offensive star.
After debuting last December in a four-team tournament in Natal, Brazil that Canada won, Rose displayed her scoring prowess in the Olympic qualifier in Houston last February, registering three goals to help her country advance to Rio.
Since her debut eight months ago, she has made 11 starts in 19 appearances, scoring four goals and recording four assists.
Still on a high after the Olympics, Rose returns to the classroom next week for her final year of high school.
Eligible to represent Canada at the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Jordan from September 30 to October 21 and the Under-20 World Cup in Papua New Guinea from November 13 to December 3, the teenager will do four courses online to graduate on time.
While focusing on her academic work and playing for Canada, Rose – with her family’s assistance – is sorting through the clutter of universities offering scholarships.
“We are still looking at that process,” said Rose-Mighty. “Deanne is yet to settle on a choice. We will give her all the time she needs to think about where she wants to go.”