USA v Vietnam: Group E - FIFA Women s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Sophia Smith of USA and Portland Thornsruns with the ball during the FIFA Women s World Cup Australia & New Zealand 2023 Group E match between USA and Vietnam at Eden Park on July 22, 2023 in Auckland, New Zealand. Auckland New Zealand PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxFRA Copyright: xJosexBretonx originalFilename:breton-usavviet230722_npxey.jpg

Sacrifices Have Paid Off for Sophia Smith and Her Family

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Sophia Smith scored twice and had an assist in her World Cup debut against Vietnam on Friday night. Afterward, she received the Player of the Match Award from her proud father.

It was a special moment, a reminder of the incredible sacrifices both she and her family made to reach this level.

Smith used to commute three to four hours round trip to Denver from Fort Collins after school for practices. She’d practice for two hours, then do her homework and eat dinner in the car so that she could shower and go straight to sleep once she got back home late at night.

She’d wake up early for school and then repeat the cycle again after school.

Not only did she miss out on a lot of things as a teenager, but her parents also sacrificed, spending so much time and money to drive her to practices.

“My parents sacrificed so much for me to be able to play this game. They knew I had a dream and did everything they could to help me reach it,” Smith said in an interview with U.S. Soccer.

She got into Stanford University in 2018 and was a stand-out player in their team. After winning the national title, she decided to leave Stanford in 2020, the school she worked so hard to get into, to take part in the NWSL draft.

The Portland Thorns drafted the Colorado native, however, her professional career got off to a rough start. Not because of her, but because of the global pandemic. She was 19 and living alone in a new city, Portland, and wasn’t able to go out for months.

“Everything shut down basically the day I got there,” she said in an interview with ESPN. “I was in a new city, new apartment, and didn’t know anyone. It was hard.”

“I was just waiting every day for it to be normal again. It took a long time.”

She only got to play four games in the entire year. Not an ideal start, especially since she chose to leave college early.

Things would slowly start to get better. Smith had solid numbers in 2021, but finally broke through in 2022, and hasn’t looked back since.

The 22-year-old has now impressed many in her first World Cup game, solidifying her status as one of the stars in the USWNT squad.

Her hard work, determination, and sacrifice have all paid off. She is also completely zoned in to make history with the USWNT, helping them become the first national team to win a World Cup three times in a row.

“For me, deleting Twitter is the best thing I’ve ever done,” Smith said when asked about how she’s protecting her mental health and keeping out the external factors to focus on the tournament.

“We did all these shoots and partnerships that’s coming out now, and it’s a lot. So [I am] trying to push that aside and focus on what we’re here to do: play soccer and win the World Cup.”

The future is incredibly bright for this talented young lady. If everything goes to plan, we could see her playing with the USWNT for the next 10-15 years.

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Yanks Abroad

Since 2004, Yanks Abroad has been providing coverage of the U.S. national team program and American players plying their trade around the world. We are committed to bringing you breaking news, interviews, and features that keep you in the loop with what's going with the United States in the soccer world.

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