“Soccer has impacted me in ways I never imagined. It’s my backbone and my source of happiness, something that I can turn to no matter what. It has taught me life skills such as the importance of communication, accountability, reliability, hard work, and passion. It has introduced me to some of my absolute best friends, and just a whole new world of people in general,” says Sophie Smith.
Smith graduated from Fossil Ridge High School in 2018, and while attending Fossil she was involved in many things, including soccer. Smith’s whole family is involved in sports, so growing up she was always surrounded by it. She started playing soccer when she was four years old. Her friends were trying out for a local soccer club so she did too and she fell in love with the sport. Smith was also involved in basketball, which her family played as well. In high school, she played both soccer and basketball and ended up choosing soccer because doing both was getting too busy to manage.
Smith’s favorite positions to play on the field are all of the forward positions (center, right, and left). She likes playing these positions because she loves the thrill of scoring a goal, and her speed is her strongest aspect. Her road to success in soccer has been nothing but a rollercoaster. “There’s been injuries, roster selections, and lots of other barriers that haven’t been ideal, but at the end of the day I kept a positive, optimistic attitude and love for the game and got past them. Most of these barriers have made me stronger, as a person and a player. My career is still in progress and I am always trying to get better every day,” Smith explains.
Smith is now currently attending school and playing soccer at Stanford University. It is her second quarter there and she says it has been the most exciting, rewarding and eye-opening experience of her life. She loves it and has met so many new people. She is thinking about possibly majoring in STS (Science, Technologies, and Societies), but is not positive yet. Smith, unfortunately, broke her leg and tore a ligament in her ankle in one of their games. So, she is currently still recovering and slowly trying to get back out on the field for next season.
When asked how the strict soccer schedule impacts her, she says “nothing in life really comes easy and in order to achieve your highest goals, you’re going to have to do things that aren’t ideal, or that maybe don’t ‘fit’ in your schedule.” She realized this early on and learned that she can make time for anything; as long as she plans, manages her time, and prioritizes her activities. She ended up doing most of her homework on the long car rides to and from practice, getting ahead on work even if it was not due the next day. She stayed organized and did not leave any excuses for not getting things done. Soccer and almost all sports are demanding and hard on the body, so while it is important to do work and get better. It is also important to rest, take a break and relax.
Smith’s advice to high school athletes that want to play in college is to “get good grades, work hard on the field and in the classroom, start developing good habits now so that when you get to college it’s nothing new!” Smith advises to develop a positive attitude that athletes can depend on, so it can be a guide through even the toughest of times. Keep working on your game, find time to work on the little parts that need fine-tuning, and most importantly, always work hard even when nobody’s watching.