Schmidt shines in return to valley

Sophie Schmidt scored two goals in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to Team Japan, although one was credited as an 'own goal'

Sophe Schmidt celebrating her goal in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Japanese national team.

Sophe Schmidt celebrating her goal in Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Japanese national team.

People were screaming, flags were waving, and there in the crowd was a proud father wearing a sweater with the words “KEEP CALM AND LET SCHMIDT HANDLE IT” set across the front.

And handle it she did.

Sophie Schmidt, Abbotsford’s favourite soccer star, returned to the valley on Tuesday for a Canadian women’s national team exhibition against internationally third-ranked Japan. It was her first official visit since the Team Canada squad suffered a 2-1 loss to Germany back in June, and the last time she’ll be playing at BC Place this year. As always, she had a loyal cohort of hometown friends and family out to cheer on the 26-year-old international sensation.

“The support over the years has been tremendous,” said Schmidt in reference to her Abby fans. “It’s just so humbling and reassuring to know they have my back…they’re great and I love them. They’ve been there along the way and [when I score] it’s partly them scoring with me.”

If that’s so then the support must have been something special on Tuesday as Schmidt provided all the offensive production for her team in a 3-2 loss to the Japanese side. Down one-to-nil courtesy of a  phenomenal goal Canada coach Jon Herdman called “an absolute worldie,” Schmidt put a shot on target in the 56th minute that resulted in the first Canadian tally in more than 150 minutes of play against Team Japan.

Unfortunately, the ball connected with defender Mizuho Sakaguchi’s head before the back of the net, meaning the Japanese player stole Schmidt’s thunder with her first ‘own goal’ of the series.

Schmidt got revenge in the 90th minute, when, once again down by a goal, she pounced on a rebound from teammate Jesse Belanger and banged it home. Again the ball deflected off of a Japanese defender, but this time the soccer gods had mercy and Schmidt was credited with the last-minute equalizer.

The location seems to suit Abby’s golden girl, who has scored all three of the goals the women’s national team have managed at BC Place during their two exhibition games this year. On Tuesday, Schmidt was by far the most dynamic Canadian player on the pitch, and her accelerating offensive production hints at good things to come as Canada gets ready to host the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.

Japan defeated Canada 3-0 on Saturday in Edmonton, and is the reigning World Cup champion courtesy of a victory on penalty kicks over the U.S.A.  in the 2011 final.

“We starting to see a different Canada now,” said Herdman post-game. “At times we were able to take it to Japan like we did in the first game. You think back to the Olympics we had three shots in the whole game, scored one goal. Tonight we had 12 shots…we actually outcrossed and outshot the world champions.”

Herdman also praised the evolution of Team Canada from a defensive team that attempts to score on the counter-attack to one capable of holding possession and matching world class opposition blow for blow.

He might have been taking solely about Sophie Schmidt, whose playmaking and scoring abilities are becoming ever more essential to the women’s national team.


Just Posted

Harrison Hot Springs country singer Todd Richard poses for a photo with Mission firefighters. (Photo/Sarah Plawutski)
VIDEO: Harrison country artist Todd Richard plans for a busy, rockin’ summer

Richard and his band look to live shows as restrictions start to lift

The theme for this year’s Fraser Valley Regional Library Summer Reading Club is “Crack the Case” and Katie Burns, community librarian at the Chilliwack Library, is encouraging people of all ages to sign up. She is seen here at the Chilliwack Library on Friday, June 18, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Crack the case, read, win prizes with FVRL Summer Reading Club

‘Immerse yourself in other worlds and have a bit of fun while you do it,’ says Chilliwack librarian

A police pursuit involving Abbotsford Police ended in Langley Saturday night, June 20. (Black Press Media file)
Abbotsford Police pursuit ends in Langley with guns drawn

One person arrested, witnesses say an officer may have been hurt in collision with suspect vehicle

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

Kalyn Head, seen here on June 4, 2021, will be running 100 kilometres for her “birthday marathon” fundraiser on July 23. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Woman’s 100-km birthday marathon from Chilliwack to Abbotsford will benefit Special Olympics B.C.

Kalyn Head hopes run raises awareness, advocates for inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

FILE – Most lanes remain closed at the Peace Arch border crossing into the U.S. from Canada, where the shared border has been closed for nonessential travel in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, Thursday, May 7, 2020, in Blaine, Wash. The restrictions at the border took effect March 21, while allowing trade and other travel deemed essential to continue. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Feds to issue update on border measures for fully vaccinated Canadians, permanent residents

Border with U.S. to remain closed to most until at least July 21

A portion of the George Road wildfire burns near Lytton, B.C. in this Friday, June 18, 2021 handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, BC Wildfire Service *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Blaze near Lytton spread across steep terrain, says BC Wildfire Service

Fire began Wednesday and is suspected to be human-caused, but remains under investigation

(Black Press Media files)
Burnaby RCMP look for witnesses in hit-and-run that left motorcyclist dead

Investigators believe that the suspect vehicle rear-ended the motorcycle before fleeing the scene

Blair Lebsack, owner of RGE RD restaurant, poses for a portrait in the dining room, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. Canadian restaurants are having to find ways to deal with the rising cost of food. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Canadian restaurateurs grapple with rising food costs, menu prices expected to rise

Restaurants are a low margin industry, so there’s not a lot of room to work in additional costs

RCMP crest. (Black Press Media files)
Fort St. John man arrested after allegedly inviting sexual touching from children

Two children reported the incident to a trusted adult right away

Pedestrian hit by police vehicle in Langley

Injuries described as serious, requiring surgery

Barbara Violo, pharmacist and owner of The Junction Chemist Pharmacy, draws up a dose behind vials of both Pfizer-BioNTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines on the counter, in Toronto, Friday, June 18, 2021. An independent vaccine tracker website founded by a University of Saskatchewan student says just over 20 per cent of eligible Canadians — those 12 years old and above — are now fully vaccinated. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
At least 20% of eligible Canadians fully vaccinated, 75% with one dose: data

Earlier projections for reopening at this milestone didn’t include Delta variant

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Most Read