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Sophia Smith on USWNT ‘future’ label: I can do this right now

(Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

For Sophia Smith, it’s all about this moment in time.

On a recent episode of CBS Sports’ “Morning Footy,” the 22-year-old Smith was asked what it was like to be heralded as “the future” of U.S. Soccer, especially given her success in the last year.

“I don’t love that label,” Smith replied.

“Right now is right now. I feel like I’ve proven myself, right now in this moment, that I can impact the team, at both the club and country level. I don’t love ‘the future’ saying because I feel like I can do this right now. I know I’m young but I don’t think age really has anything to do with it. You’re seeing younger and younger players coming into the league and having impacts on their team.”

Smith, 22, is the reigning U.S. Soccer Player of the Year and the NWSL MVP. In 2022, she led the USWNT with 11 goals — becoming the youngest player to lead the team in scoring since Mia Hamm in 1993 — and she helped the Portland Thorns secure the NWSL Championship with a goal in the final. So far in 2023, Smith has a league-leading four goals and four assists, setting an NWSL record through the first four games of the season.

While Smith is ready to drop “the future” label, she knows her game is still evolving as she prepares to play in her first World Cup with the USWNT this summer.

“There’s definitely a lot of my game that I know I still need to improve on. I’m still very young and I get to learn from so many great players around me who have done everything that I hope to do one day. I just approach every day with the same mindset of, ‘I still have so much to learn and I still have so much to get better at.’ For me, that’s exciting because I don’t ever want to reach a point where I don’t feel that way because, once that happens, I don’t love the game anymore.”

The full interview with Smith embedded below.