Sophia Smith just wrapped up an NWSL season in which she hoisted both the MVP and Championship trophies.
While the young Portland Thorns and U.S. women’s national team star is enjoying her down time heading into the new year, soccer is never far from her mind. And her focus is on one thing: the World Cup.
“Everything – how we train, how we recover – you know, everything goes into our preparation for that World Cup,” the 22-year-old told the Guardian. “It’s definitely something that I’m constantly thinking about. But also, I’m just so excited. If I get the chance to represent this country, that would be a dream come true.”
Smith has been watching the men’s World Cup in Qatar, in which the USMNT advanced to the round of 16. She told the Guardian that watching the men’s team compete makes her even more excited for the Women’s World Cup, which kicks off in July in Australia and New Zealand.
“Honestly, everything I do is for that, to make that roster and to contribute to that team,” she said. “I think we started preparing for the World Cup a long time ago. Now it’s just getting closer and closer.”
Smith has been an integral part of the USWNT during 2022, scoring a team-leading 11 goals in 17 appearances. Her breakout year coincided with her MVP campaign in the NWSL, where she led the Thorns to their third title with 14 goals in the regular season and another in the final.
Her success is rooted in loving the game of soccer, Smith told the Guardian.
“The main thing is you have to love it,” she said. “I don’t think you will get too far if you don’t genuinely love the game. Because you know as a career, it’s fun, but it’s also a grind.”