Sophia Smith is not afraid to put a date on her dreams.
She’s practiced with two-time world player-of-the-year Carli Lloyd. She’s roomed with stalwart U.S. Soccer defender Becky Sauerbrunn. Last year at just 16, she participated in a senior U.S. national team camp.
The feeling the Fossil Ridge High School senior had playing with the top level of world soccer has her plotting her future.
“The next women’s World Cup is 2019, maybe it’s an ambitious goal, I don’t know,” Smith said, shrugging like she knows it sounds bold to aim to be part of the U.S. team that will look to repeat as world champions.
“But that would be awesome to be a part of that.”
Smith’s meteoric rise suggests it’s not a crazy goal at all.
The forward is a goal-scoring star who has excelled at every level.
She was named the 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Player of the Year in December after scoring for the under-18, U-20 and U-23 teams in one year. She played in the 2016 U-17 World Cup and helped the U-20’s qualify for the World Cup in August in France.
She joins established stars like Mallory Pugh, Lindsey Horan, Julie Johnston and Tobin Heath as Young Player of the Year winners.
“It’s kind of so surreal that it’s hard to think that it’s real,” Smith said. “Hearing the girls that have won it before me, it’s just like ‘wow I’m in the group with those people.’ It’s amazing.”
The 17-year-old has a blueprint she’s trying to follow. Pugh is from Highlands Ranch, played at the same Real Colorado club that Smith is at and now at 20 years old is established as one of the key players on the national team.