Canadian midfielder Sophie Schmidt looks set to make her 200th appearance for the national team in the upcoming 2021 She Believes Cup in Orlando.
“Gosh… 200,” said the 32-year-old, reflecting on the enormity of her achievement. “It’s weird because it’s 200 but it’s also because it’s been so long since we played together, I don’t know what I’m more excited for. I think I’m just excited to go back onto the field with my teammates.”
The cap will come Feb. 18 when the eighth-ranked Canadians face the defending FIFA World Cup champions, the U.S. national team, to open the SheBelieves Cup.
“I think one thing the 200 stands for is just durability and adaptability for me as a player,” said Schmidt. “For me, it’s all those people along the way – it’s teammates, it’s coaches, family members, friends, my husband… being there for the highs and lows, just allowing me to pursue my passion, my dreams no matter what. It’s definitely not a solo endeavour and I wouldn’t be here if not for my teammates that I’ve enjoyed this journey with. I love the game, I love the people that I get to play with and I’m very thankful for this opportunity, it’s crazy!”
Since getting her first cap at 16, Schmidt has been fortunate to avoid the major injuries that have plagued notable contemporaries such as Diana Matheson and Kara Lang.
“I think it’s also my adaptability in terms of I’m able to play midfield, I’m able to play centre-back, attacking mid, defensive mid,” she said. “Players come in, fill different roles and I’m happy to just support the team and help other people come alive and I think that’s been a huge asset to my success.”
Her favourite moment?
“That first Olympic medal. That whole tournament, that whole year, the build-up, the bombing out of the World Cup, to John [Herdman] coming in as a coach, rebuilding the program and our belief and just that performance, that team environment and culture we created.”
On the challenges facing Canada in the lead up to the SheBelieves Cup, Schmidt highlights particularly the importance of “making the most of the time we have together… Expect a little bit [of a] different Canada under Bev [Priestman].”
“I think the Canadian culture and mindset is being a good human first and foremost, that shines through in everything that we do on and off the field,” Schmidt said. “We hold each other accountable, and then it’s that Canadian DNA, that grit, that tenacity. At times we may not be the most technical team but we’re always up for the fight, we’re always going to work hard… that’s the baseline, the threshold that we never dip below.”