Desiree Scott doesn’t always get to spend a lot of time in her home city, so she’s enjoying being back in one of her favourite places.
Scott, a central midfielder on the Canadian national women’s soccer team, has been back in Winnipeg since October, and she came home with a little something extra in her luggage — a second bronze medal from the Olympic Summer Games, in Brazil, to go with the one she won at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Scott just completed her eighth year with the national team. Although she’s enjoying the break, she’s still training every day.
Scott, who says she comes from a family of soccer fans, has played since she was eight years old. She said making to the national team was a natural consequence of working hard and qualifying for club, provincial and national teams.
"I didn’t like to lose. I found that very early," she said. "I was one of those criers after the game and my mom would always say ‘It’s just a game,’ but for me it never was. I wanted to win. I was competitive, and I had a little bit of talent."
Scott came up through the FC Northwest Soccer Club program and, interestingly, was a striker when she played for the University of Manitoba Bisons. These days she is known as ‘The Destroyer’ for her penchant for breaking up play with powerful tackles.
"It’s my bread and butter, making big tackles and being that connector between offence and defence," she explained.
Scott’s efforts and success have inspired many young Winnipeggers who have the love for soccer.
NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness president Scott Miller said many see Scott as a hero and that she strives to get involved with her community whenever she can.
"The players look up to her, and it blows their minds. They want to be what she is," Miller said.
Scott considers herself a natural leader with a balanced personality. In Winnipeg, she wants to be a strong role model to aspiring athletes, especially young women.
Scott, who is an ambassador for the Fuelling Women Champions program run by Canada’s Dairy Farmers, will celebrate her 30th birthday next year and said that going to the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan is in her plans.
"I know four years is a big commitment, but if my body can still hold up and if (national team coach John Herdman) sees me in the plans, that gold is looming over," she said.
"We haven’t achieved that yet but I think we’re close, which I think is fuelling my fire. So I still want to be involved and be a part of that," she said.
Canada won the Olympic bronze medal with a victory over Brazil in the third-place match (in 2012 they beat France) and Scott said it was tough playing in Brazil against the host team.
"You’d just see a sea of green and yellow. When we scored the stadium was dead silent," she said. "It was an incredible game to play."
"Over these last eight years, from London until now, I think people can see that we’re knocking on the door against those top nations."
Canada is currently ranked fourth in the world, their highest ranking yet.
Scott said the way the team has performed on a global stage is a clear sign of how the program has improved.
"We are a tight family… and we genuinely have each other’s backs. You grow that bond over the number of years you play together. We’re like sisters on and off the team," she explained.
"We’re competitive with each other…we are all fighting for a spot but at the end of the day we all care about each other."
Scott will be at NRG Athletes Therapy Fitness (745 Kingsbury Ave.) on Dec. 15 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. to share her experiences and show her two bronze medals.
She’ll be giving autographs and taking pictures with fans and the first 100 people through the door will get an autographed photo card.
She leaves Winnipeg for Vancouver in January for a three-week training camp with the national team.
Community journalist — The Times
Ligia Braidotti was the community journalist for The Times until 2019.
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