Ever since Sophie de Goede was young, she loved standing side by side with her parents, watching them coach the local rugby team.
Her parents, who played on the national team, coached players with the James Bay Athletic Association and would bring de Goede along to practices and games, where she would stand on the sidelines with her doll in hand, yelling at the players to run faster.
“I would run around with my doll and yell at people to run faster,” she laughed.
It was an atmosphere de Goede grew up in and quickly found a passion for.
At eight years old, de Goede decided to follow in her parents' footsteps and take up rugby, joining the Castaway Wanderers, and playing with the club from elementary through to high school. She also played U18 B.C. Sevens when she was 13 years old.
“It's one game, but there's so many smaller games inside the game. With each tackle you go into a one-on-one and you try and beat someone. I'm really competitive, I like that aspect of trying to find ways to beat your opposition,” said the now 17-year-old, adding she also enjoys the tactical side of the game such as reading defences and figuring out how to manipulate the defence to score as well.
She now plays the position of prop in a higher level of competition, with the end goal of representing Canada at the Olympics. And the Grade 12 Oak Bay High student is on her way to achieving that goal.
In August, she represented Rugby Canada at the U18 Women's European Championships in France. Most recently, she received her Sport Canada carding to practice with Canada's Womens Sevens Team. As part of the program, she has the opportunity to train two to three days a week with players from the women's rugby sevens team who brought home bronze during the Summer Olympics — an opportunity she said allows her to be fully immersed in a high-performance environment.
“It's pretty incredible to see their work ethic. The amount of time that they put in every day,” de Goede said. “They give us pointers too when I play, I appreciate their vision because they have so much experience. It's pretty neat to be able to be alongside them and feed off of their passion for the game.”
In addition to training with the sevens team, she trains with the Canadian Sport School and finds time to play on her school's basketball team.
Up next, de Goede was named to the roster for the Rugby Americas North Seven Championship and will travel to Trinidad and Tobago to compete.