Canadian Women International, Sophie Schmidt: “My faith is the single most important thing to me”

Cross The Line spoke to Canada and Frankfurt midfielder, Sophie Schmidt, about the highlights of her football career and how she centres everything around God.

Who were your footballing idols growing up?

“My first ever football idol would have to be my bigger brother Spencer.  He is the first footballer I ever knew and I looked up to him in every sense.  I wanted to be just like him, which included emulating his amazing soccer skills.  Professional footballers consisted of Zinedine Zidane and Michelle Ackers.

Zidane was simply the best of the best and he happened to play in my position. He put on a performance every time he played, it was beautiful.  With Michelle Ackers, I saw her play only once.  She was a beast, and that was at the end of her career.  The thing that made her my football role model was her story.  I was given her book at a young age and fell in love with the courage that she demonstrated in following her team and pursuing her passion.”

Did you always want to be a professional footballer?

“When I was younger I wanted to be either a teacher or a nurse.  These dreams have not been thrown, however, they have been put on hold since realising a new dream around the age of 12.  When I first start out playing soccer with my brother in Paraguay and even my first organised girls teams, I had no idea that women could play professionally or that there was even a national team.  It was unheard of.”

What was it like playing for Vancouver Whitecaps?

“I played Vancouver Whitecaps at a fairly young age and it was an amazing opportunity to play along side some top quality players.  Not only did it solidify my dream of pursuing soccer in hopes of one day playing for the national team, but it gave me the chance to meet some amazing human beings.  The people behind these soccer studs that I’d come to look up to.”

You’re now playing your football with Frankfurt, what’s football like in Germany?

“Frankfurt has been an interesting experience.  The German league has always a place that I wanted to play in because it seemed the strongest league with regards to women’s soccer.  The football here is very tactical and technical, however, it’s also very physical. There is a nice balance and there are a lot of strong opposition making for a very competitive season, meaning that every game counts.”

How proud are you of representing Canada and winning a Bronze medal in the 2012 Olympics?

“The Bronze medal experience in 2012 is something that I will never forget.  We went from coming last place in the 2011 World Cup Germany to standing on a Olympic podium watching our flag rise.  We were able to inspire a nation by coming back from a gut-wrenching loss against USA in the quarter final to somehow miraculously winning a bronze medal against a talented French opposition.

I am proud to put on my country’s jersey and represent Canada every single game.  It’s something that is not taken for granted. The best part was to play along side some amazing women and to continue to have the opportunity to inspire and impact the lives of others through sport.  It’s a powerful thing!”

Career highlight?

“My career highlights would have to include that Bronze medal, but in particular the game against the USA.  It was played in Man United’s stadium… “the Theatre Of Dreams”… and the how the game unfolded, is that which movies are made of.  It was gut-wrenching but epic all at the same time. The support Canadians showed after that loss is indescribable. Messages came flooding in from every type of person imaginable (fans, public figures, friends, family, strangers who do not normally even watch soccer). A nation lifted us up and helped carry us through that last game.

Playing in any World Cup at any level has been a highlight of mine, along with the two (hopefully soon to be three) Olympics that I have been fortunate enough to play in.”

Best player you have ever played against?

“Best player I have ever played against would probably have to be Brazil’s Marta because of her ability take over a game and impose her style and passion.

Otherwise it would be Dzsenifer Marozsán because her skill is unreal and she simply has a great time out there on the field.”

How excited are you about the growth of Women’s football?

“Women’s football has come so far in the past couple of years.  It is truly something amazing to be apart of. The growth of the game on the women’s side was needed and still has a way to go, however, we are moving in the right direction and that is exciting.  Women are play more organised football than ever around the world and it’s helping with the standard of play.  More people are exposed to the women’s game, there is a huge fan base for it and from that stems more opportunities for the next generation of footballers coming through.”

If you weren’t a footballer, what would you be doing?

“If I was not a footballer I would probably be a nurse or teacher somewhere in the world.  I love travelling and helping people.  Or I would have a camper van somewhere and be a beach bum loving life! It’s hard to imagine life with out soccer, there would have been so many other opportunities and also I wouldn’t be the same person I am right now either.  It’s a tough question to answer.”

So how did you become a Christian?

“My story is a simple one.  I grew up in a Christian house hold and apart of a Mennonite community both in Paraguay and then in Abbotsford, Canada. My family was on the conservative end and raised on Christian teachings.  Attended church services when it did not conflict with soccer games on the weekends and was involved with the youth.  Around the age of thirteen I became baptised.  It was around this time that I really my faith became my own and I wanted to make a public declaration that I believed in and am a follower of Jesus Christ.”

How important is your faith to you?

“My faith is the single most important thing to me.  Even on my good days I am nothing without Christ.  To be honest though, I do have my struggles.”

How does your faith impact your football career?

“I try to be open about my faith.  With the national team and also other teams we have held Bible studies and had prayers before matches.  God has blessed us with this talent and we try to use this platform to spread his message of love and grace.  Theology and evangelism is not my strong point by any means, but I try to shower people with love. The love that Christ first showed us.  There is nothing that I did to get into God’s family… no performance got me in.  God choose to love me because of who he is and he will not stop loving.  That’s a powerful message!”

Favourite Bible verse?

“My favourite Bible verse is Joshua 1:9 ‘Have I not commanded you; be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified or dismayed for the Lord your is with you wherever you go.

I used to write this on my soccer boots because I would be so nervous for games. It helped me focus on what really mattered.”

Do you see yourself as a role model for other Christian footballers?

“I do not think of myself as a role model for other Christian footballers, however, it seems that it is something that comes with being in the public eye.  I am not perfect.  I am not afraid to declare my love for Jesus and I try to be a light and encourage those that I can through social media and encounters in daily life.  However, I believe that anyone has the ability to be a role model at any given time. Always having a great attitude; giving my very best; treating people well; and try to have unconditional gratitude of what ever circumstances I am in.  So in essence I try everyday to be the best possible version of myself and share the love of Jesus to those around me.”

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One thought on “Canadian Women International, Sophie Schmidt: “My faith is the single most important thing to me”

  1. Praise God for athletes who are bold and brave to share their faith We need more “celebrities” to share the good news!

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