Is leadership passed down through the genes in the same way as physical capital? The De Goede family could push scientists to look into the matter. It is that Sophie, current number 8 and captain of Canada, France’s next opponent on Saturday for the small final of the World Cup, is not just anyone’s daughter.
Her mother, Steph, captained Canada’s first women’s team at the 1991 World Cup in Wales. And her father, Hans, guided her to the North American selection during the very first World Cup organized in New Zealand in 1987. Thirty-five years later, Sophie continues this incredible family epic on the same grounds as her father.
As a child, she marvels at the All Blacks
“Dad always has lots of advice for meshe explained recently to the magazine Rugby World. He regularly sends me emails with notes on leadership, how to build a team, talk to players. I’m a young captain, so having my parents’ perspective is fantastic. I’m lucky to have them and I take advantage of it, I ask them a lot of questions. »
As a child, Sophie De Goede was immersed in the culture of rugby. With her brothers, including Thyssen, who won two caps with the Canucks in 2015 (without being captain, don’t worry), she prefers to marvel at the matches of the All Blacks rather than those of the national ice hockey team. . “And it’s very rare in Canada”she laughs.
When Canada reached the final of the Women’s World Cup in 2014, after eliminating France in the semi-finals in Jean-Bouin (18-16), she jumped with her parents on the first plane to Paris, in order to attend the final, finally lost against England (9-21).
“She does not go unnoticed, she walks all over the field. […] We’ll have to keep an eye on it because it can hurt a lot. »
Eight years later, it was she who led the selection against the Red Roses last week in the semi-finals. And after an epic fight, she could not reverse the fate (19-26), thus joining France in the sad meeting of the failed at the gates of the final (Saturday, 4:30 am). Les Bleues know that you will have to be wary of this incredibly talented 23-year-old third center line, capable of all technical gestures thanks to his formation as an opening half.
Sophie De Goede against the United States in the quarter-finals. (D. Rowland/Reuters)
“It’s a bit of a Swiss army knifenotes the second-line Madoussou Fall. She does not go unnoticed, she walks all over the field. We targeted her a bit, we’ll have to keep an eye on her because she can hurt a lot. » Indispensable to her team, De Goede is the player who carried the ball the most during this World Cup: 90 races, far ahead of her runner-up, the Australian Grace Hamilton (71).
The determination of the greatest leaders
“When we work on the opponent’s game on video, we try to study the X factors, and it came out directlyadds the young third-line tricolor Charlotte Escudero. On the field, she manages to alternate all forms of play: she can play behind the 10, penetrating with the forwards… it’s a bit like the free electron of their game system. ” On top of all that, De Goede added to himself the responsibility of shooting on goal. Rather successfully for the moment (24 points at the foot, 62% success).
In a Canadian team that is still totally amateur, unlike the best nations that have professionalized at different levels (England, New Zealand, France), De Goede believes that she and her partners have a mission during this World Cup. : “We feel the responsibility to put in a great performance at this competition because we want to show that Canada is an important team now and in the future. If we achieve this objective, we will have a strong argument on which to base our request for more resources, in order to make further progress in the coming years. »
Including off the field, De Goede thus carries claims broader than itself, with the determination of the greatest leaders. As if it was in her blood.