When I first spoke to Rosie White this season, she had just had a cupcake smashed on her face while taking her 2017 roster headshots. She was still brushing off frosting when we moved outside for the interview, albeit with a smile.
The day of the cupcake incident, the team was just emerging from preseason and would be facing FC Kansas City away soon - a game they ended up losing 2-0. But on photo day, White seemed fairly buoyant, perhaps from a combination of a fun shoot and the abnormally nice early April weather. Boston’s topsy-turvy gloom to sun and back in April is surely a contrast to California, where White previously spent her college years playing for UCLA.
“It’s always a bit of an adjustment,” she said diplomatically, then broke off in another smile as yelling echoed from inside the photo shoot, where a teammate was going method in order to get a fierce-looking action pose for the photographer.
“I found it pretty easy [to adjust] because the people have been so great and welcoming and I like this city,” she continued. “There’s lots to explore and the people seem great.”
For herself, White wants to make her mark in her first go-round in American pro soccer. “I really want to have a good season here,” she said. “I think it’s a really good opportunity for me to be playing in this league. I really want to kind of develop my midfield responsibilities. I haven’t played a long period of time in the midfield so I really want to establish myself as a player in the league and be consistent and good for the team.”
White is currently hovering around 74% passing accuracy after two games; that definitely needs to come up for her to be the kind of really impactful player who can help shape a game. But the potential is there, and hopefully as she adjusts to the teammates around her and they to her, her stats will improve. With her, Rose Lavelle, and Natasha Dowie all lined up in the attack, the Breakers are poised for a turnaround after years of dreary results. And already White is throwing herself headlong into trying to be that player for Boston; just witness her late pick on a Sky Blue player inside SBFC’s own half in the 86’, when the Breakers played their home opener. White forces the turnover and is still running full tilt after almost 90 minutes of end-to-end play.
White came to Boston not just with history playing for Matt Beard at Liverpool, but also with 71 caps for New Zealand by age 23. The Football Ferns have recently gone through a spike in roster upheaval as former captain Abby Erceg announced her retirement from international soccer, citing a lack of financial support by New Zealand Football.
“Obviously Abby’s decision was because of a variety of reasons,” said White. “I think she made the right call for her. It’s always a bit of a grind playing for New Zealand. She mentions that we don’t get supported as well as we’d like to. I think the team’s behind her and believe that what she’s saying is right.”
Erceg told Radio New Zealand, “We just want an environment where we are able focus on this job that we call football and we're able to do it without having to worry about if we pay the bills, if I'm going to be able to eat next week....”
Would the Ferns consider a strike? The US women’s hockey team went on strike in order to push for fairer treatment from USA Hockey, and the Ireland WNT threatened a strike due to poor treatment from FAI. “Potentially,” said White. “It’s hard because New Zealand’s such a small country and a small organization and money's always the problem and it always will be. I think it’s always going to be a struggle and it’s always going to be a fight. We’re always fighting for something more. We want to be the best we can be and we need more from our federation to be able to do that. But at the same time it’s a little bit of give and take. They’re working hard to try and do that. We definitely think there can be more done, as there always is, but it’s a hard one.”
After such a serious topic, we ended on a lighter note. White didn’t think too long when deciding which teammate she would prefer to have with her if they were stranded on a desert island. “Libby Stout,” she said, picking her old Liverpool teammate. “She’s very resourceful. She’s pretty smart. I’ve known her for a long time. She’s a ledge.”