Last Friday, Olympic soccer bronze medalist Sophie Schmidt paid a visit to one of her former schools in Abbotsford, Colleen and Gordie Howe Middle.
Howe students greeted her dressed in red and white and Olympic apparel, and carrying banners and flags. A former teacher and coach of Schmidt’s, Paul Giesbrecht, reminisced about his time with Sophie and jokingly showed some old photos of her and teachers from years past.
Sporting her national team jersey and bronze medal, Schmidt spoke eloquently of her journey, starting as a young girl to eventual Olympic soccer star, complete with failures, hardships, and sacrifices.
“With skill, desire, commitment, and a little luck, you can achieve your dream,” she said.
Schmidt acknowledged the support and care she received from her Howe coaches and teachers.
“Education is a must; I have my Bachelor of Science degree for when I finish my soccer career,” she said. “Make sure you get your education as well.”
The local star took time to sign autographs for every student wanting one, and she also posed for photos with her many young admirers. The teachers commented on how classy and down to earth Sophie presents herself.
Schmidt exchanged jerseys with the school, accepting a Howe Bulldogs shirt and donating a signed Canada jersey. Howe Middle’s new fitness room will display the jersey, along with a photo of Sophie and a quote that she has used over the years: “Be comfortable being uncomfortable.”
Sophie left Howe Middle with the message that nothing great comes without adversity, and that success is in the effort.
– article submitted by Paul Giesbrecht, Howe Middle School