Sophie Schmidt is ready for a big year on and off the soccer pitch.
The Canadian national women’s team midfielder, who figures to be one of the home side’s key contributors in a friendly against Brazil on Sunday at TD Place, is looking to join a new club team while she makes preparations for her wedding Dec. 29.
Schmidt, who met her fiance, Nic Kyle, while playing in Germany, is hoping to sign with a team in the U.S.-based National Women’s Soccer League. She’s out of contract after most recently playing for FFC Frankfurt in Germany.
So, Schmidt is experiencing some mixed emotions these days. But the wedding certainly is circled on her calendar.
“It’s pretty exciting,” said the 30-year-old Schmidt, who was raised in Abbotsford, B.C. “We’re getting married in New Zealand and then hoping to settle in Vancouver to be closer to home.”
Playing closer to home also is part of Schmidt’s plans.
“It’s something I’ve dealt with before,” said Schmidt of looking for a new team. “It’s not easy to not have a club or a team to play for and not even know what the future holds. It’s unsettling, but it’s just my reality currently.”
In the meantime, Schmidt takes comfort in the fact she will be playing with the national team.
Canada is gearing up for the CONCACAF championship in October in the United States. That event serves as the 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifier.
“I think that’s why I’m a little more calm about the whole situation is that we do have these games,” Schmidt said. “We have these internationals and qualifiers coming up so it’s not like there’s a period of no soccer for me for about six months. I’m still training and playing and getting those minutes so it’s good.”
Schmidt looks forward to any opportunity to play on home soil.
“There is nothing like playing in front of home fans because we don’t get to do it very often,” said Schmidt. “We spend a lot of time away and so we cherish each and every game we get to play here and we get to give back to community.”
While her immediate club plans remain foggy, Schmidt has her eyes fixed on the World Cup in France and 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
Schmidt believes Canada’s balance of youth and experience will help.
“You always want to have that balance, otherwise you lose that edge,” Schmidt said. “We have a great number of girls who have experience and the girls coming in have so much quality and they understand the game so much better than we did at that point. Our team dynamic is probably the best it’s ever been.”
It’s a feeling shared by 35-year-old veteran Christine Sinclair.
“On this team, everyone’s an equal,” said Sinclair. “It doesn’t matter if you’ve been here 10 years or this is your first camp. It’s one thing we pride ourselves on is creating that welcoming environment and being family.”
Sunday’s game is a rematch of the 2016 Rio Olympics bronze-medal game, won by Canada. While some of the faces have changed, Sinclair anticipates another gruelling contest.
“We watched the last 10 minutes of that game in preparation for this,” she said. “I just remember being exhausted at the end. We definitely fought for that one.”