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B.C. church proud of its Olympian

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A young woman from King Road MB Church in Abbotsford is back at her university studies after her first Olympic Games experience with the Canadian women’s soccer team.

Sophie Schmidt is studying (and playing soccer) at the University of Portland. In her second year, Sophie is majoring in German and Life Sciences, and hopes to enter a nursing program after completing her current bachelor’s program.

But she also hopes to compete in the next Olympics. She loved the 2008 experience in China. “The atmosphere around the whole games was phenomenal,” she says. Pollution concerns, expressed by some athletes in Beijing, did not bother her. “Besides,” she adds, “we were all playing under the same conditions.”

The Canadian team reached the quarter-finals. Schmidt’s mother, Cornelia says the family couldn’t travel to Beijing, but they watched Schmidt on TV and they thought she played very well.

Schmidt has been playing soccer almost since she can remember. She started her first organized team play at eight, two years after her family arrived in Canada from Paraguay. Active in world-level competition since her debut in 2005, she was invited to be part of Team Canada’s visit to Chile this autumn but decided instead to stay with her studies because the timing just didn’t work with her final exams.

Schmidt’s passion is soccer and she’s looking forward, not only to the next Olympics, but to playing even better. “In women’s soccer,” she says, “most players don’t hit their prime until age 25 or 26. And at the Olympics, we were playing with some 30-year-olds.”

For this 20-year-old Olympian, that outlook provides lots to look forward to.

Barrie McMaster

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