Hey world, Sophia Smith introduced herself in grand style last Friday in her debut for the U.S. Women’s National Team in its opening game of the World Cup in Australia.
Smith scored a pair of first-half goals and assisted on a third to lead the American team to a 3-0 victory over Vietnam. She became the youngest USWNT player to score multiple goals in her World Cup debut, and instantly became the favorite to win Women’s World Cup MVP honors.
“I think it’s a good place to start,” Smith said following the game.
“It was good to just get a World Cup game under my belt, kind of see how it felt, know what to expect. It honestly just makes me more excited for the next game.”
While the U.S. dominated Vietnam, Smith was not completely satisfied with the shutout victory.
“We could have scored several more goals. Myself included,” she said.
A native of Fort Collins, Colorado, Smith was one of few players of color in both basketball and soccer. Her father, Kenny Smith, played two seasons for the University of Wyoming. An older sister, Savannah, played basketball at the University of Northern Colorado.
When 14-year-old Sophia informed her father that she was dropping basketball to concentrate on soccer, his reply according to USA TODAY was “Man, Soph, you could really be something in basketball.”
Her response to her well-meaning dad was ““I’m going to be special in soccer.”
Her family got on board with Sophia’s soccer dream, driving at least four hours each day round trip so she could practice with a high-level club team.
She played two seasons at Stanford and helped the Cardinal win the 2019 NCAA title. She left school early to enter the National Women’s Soccer League draft and was the No. 1 pick of the Portland Timbers.
She won a championship and MVP award with the Timbers, and she won’t turn 23 until August 10.
Smith’s family was in the stadium, and she was named the VISA Player of the Match for her dominant performance in the victory over Vietnam. Her father presented her with the trophy after the game.
“I’m a winner,” Smith said in an interview before the World Cup. “I have to win. It makes me sick to lose anything. Card game, anything. When it comes to soccer, I just find a way.”
If Smith keeps finding her way, the USWNT is on the path to an unprecedented third consecutive World Cup title.
The Reid Roundup
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