Sophie Schmidt, who has played with the CanWNT since 2005, will be playing her last game on December 5 against Australia at Christine Sinclair Place (BC Place). The 5’7″ midfielder has been a vital part of the Canadian women’s soccer team for a very long time. She has played 224 games for her country, and she is expected to play her 225th and last game for the CanWNT on Tuesday night at Christine Sinclair Place.
Sophie Schmidt: A Legend for the CanWNT
Schmidt was born in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, to parents, Elmer and Cornelia Schmidt. Both her parents immigrated to Canada from Paraguay and her grandparents were originally from Germany (source: Paul Schönwetter of Frankfurter Rundschau). She is a 35-year-old and attended the W. J. Mouat Secondary School in Abbotsford, British Columbia, and played for the Abbotsford Rush club team in 2004 (source: Portland Pilots). Her upbringing included being part of the Mennonite community as both her parents were Mennonite missionaries (source: Jason Bell of the Winnipeg Free Press).
She also spent her youth career playing for the Abbotsford Rush as mentioned above along with the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Surrey United SC.
Sophie Schmidt College Career (2006-09)
Sophie Schmidt played her college career for the University of Portland with the Portland Pilots. In 2007, she played the forward position and had seven goals and seven assists in 14 games. Her honours include being the Soccer America Freshman All-America First Team, Soccer Buzz and NSCAA All-West Region Second Team, All-WCC First Team, and the Soccer America National Player of the Week.
In 2008, she scored two goals against Santa Clara and dished out two assists against San Diego. She was the second on the team in scoring and led the WC in scoring with nine goals and also three assists. She was named the WCC Player of the Week twice and also once with the WCC October Player of the Month.
Lastly, in 2009, she was named the Soccer America MVP (All-America) First Team, NSCAA First Team All-American, Top Drawer Soccer Second Team of the Season, NSCAA All-West Region First Team, All-WCC First Team, and was named as a Husky/Nike Invitational Offensive MVP.
Her most notable game included a 5-1 win in a four-goal performance over Columbia. It was a notable year for her, as she had 12 assists and 12 goals, a year in which she led her team in assists and was tied for third-most on her team with goals.
Sophie Schmidt’s Legacy with the Portland Pilots
Her legacy with Portland has been cemented as she ranks tenth in Pilots’ history in goals and goals per game, and also ranks ninth with Portland University women’s soccer history, with points per game and assists per game.
During that period, Schmidt was balancing soccer and nursing school. This is what she said about that period and also on her road to the club level (source: UFV Today):
All stats for the Portland Pilots can be found here provided by the Portland Pilots: Sophie Schmidt’s Stats
Early Years with the CanWNT (2005-11)
Schmidt played for the Canada U19 team in 2004 with four appearances made. She excelled as a player of Canada U20 team, who scored two goals in 12 appearances. She was also the captain of the 2006 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Championships in Russia.
— FIFA Women's World Cup (@FIFAWWC) June 28, 2023
Her first national game was in 2005 against Netherlands. She scored her first goal and third overall, in the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007. Since then, she would take a prominent role with the national team, starting all four games in Beijing 2008, in what was then Canada’s first-ever Olympic appearance. Schmidt was also part of the historic 2010 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying, where they finished in first place. This was only the second time Canada won the competition, and was the only time they won a Concacaf competition where the U.S. also participated.
Unfortunately, she was also part of the downs including the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, but won the Pan-Am Games straight after.
Sophie Schmidt (2012-2023)
John Herdman, who took the program to another level after taking over at the conclusion of the FIFA Women’s World, said this about Schmidt after the game against England (source: John Molinaro of Sportsnet):
“This could be the tournament where (Schmidt) becomes the best midfielder in the world. We’ve told her that. She’s really got the goods to step up in this World Cup,” Canadian coach John Herdman told reporters after the game. “Tonight, she looked a class above at times. If I dare say it, she reached Sinclair’s level—that classy (player who) floats around the pitch without giving the ball away and sees passes that others don’t see.”
Schmidt scored more than one goal three times in her national team career. Two of them came in the Cyprus Cup, with the first one coming against Scotland in 2012 and another against Finland in 2014.
The other time came against Japan, in a 3-2 loss in 2014. She scored two other goals on Canadian soil. With another one coming against Germany in the same year and also a 1-0 win over England in Hamilton in 2015.
Her most important goal for the Canadian women’s soccer team might have been in the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. Canada was facing Brazil and she scored the game-winning goal, which helped Canada advance to the semi-finals stage of the Summer Olympics.
Games Coming up for Sophie Schmidt
The game on December 5 at “Christine Sinclair Place” in Vancouver, British Columbia will be the last game Schmidt will ever play. This is what fellow national team player, Janine Beckie, said about Schmidt (source: Canadian Press of Sportsnet):
“Sophie is one of the most genuine, real people that I’ve ever met,” said striker Janine Beckie, who is in camp while rehabbing a knee injury. “It’s been so nice to have her back in this environment. I think she just brings in an experience, a level of calm. Her vibe is always so good. She’s so positive. And at the same time she’s still a fantastic soccer player.”
Lastly, this is what Schmidt said as she gets ready for retirement in the same Sportsnet article:
“I hope I’m not a big blubbery mess,” the veteran midfielder said cheerfully Thursday. “But it’ll definitely be a special occasion and I’m just so grateful to be able to share that moment with Sincy and Erin … It will definitely be a special moment for myself, for the team, but also for the country. I’m looking forward to it.”
It is a retirement well-deserved for the 35-year-old, who made 224 appearances for her country, including coming in as a substitute in the second half at Starlight Stadium on Friday, through the highs and the lows. She also plans to continue to be involved in the soccer scene in Canada as stated here in a Zoom meeting on Sunday:
“So it’s important to get back to the game that’s given me so much in building who I am, like I’ve lived Yeah, definitely involved in some capacity that’s judging by the scenes or whatnot.”
Fans can watch the game between the CanWNT and Australia on December 5 at 10:00 PM ET at BC Place, but as has been mentioned before, will be named “Christine Sinclair Place” just for the game on December 5. It will be shown live on OneSoccer, Telus, and will be televised nationally on TSN.
Photo Credit: Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports, of a Sophie Schmidt Headshot and a Mana Iwabuchi Headshot on February 22, 2023.