De Goede putting in double time

Newest recruit Sophie De Goede commits to Queen’s for rugby and basketball 

Sophie De Goede will be playing basketball and rugby for Queen’s.
Supplied by Queen’s athletics

It’s no secret varsity athletes have difficulties striking a balance between their sport, academics and being social. Queen’s newest recruit, Sophie De Goede will manage all of this while playing for not one, but two varsity teams.

Earlier in June, De Goede committed to Queen’s as a dual-sport athlete for rugby and basketball — a feat that’s almost unheard of in university sport.

“She’s a pretty unique individual, there’s no doubt about that,” women’s basketball head coach Dave Wilson said.

The Victoria, B.C native will be coming to Queen’s with a long list of accolades. In rugby, De Goede was team captain of the U18 Canada rugby 7s team at the Youth Commonwealth Games and was named Rugby Canada Young Female Player of the year in 2016. As a basketball player, De Goede shared the captaincy of British Columbia’s U17 provincial team as a guard.

While her accomplishments prove she’s an exceptional athlete, Queen’s is taking the necessary steps prior to De Goede arriving on campus so she can with stand two varsity seasons in a school year to prevent injuries.

Wilson and women’s rugby head coach Beth Barz have been in close contact since the news of De Goede’s signing. Currently, they are creating a plan that will avoid overworking De Goede and will lower her threat of injury. “The physicality the sport of rugby and the risk that that’s going to pose” is something Wilson will be paying close attention to.

One reason why De Goede can be a dual-sport student-athlete is because of theseason’s timing. Rugby is often complete by November, by which time the basketball season will just be getting underway.

“[We’re trying] to let her focus on rugby in the fall with basketball knowledge being thrown in there and then her focus goes on to basketball,” Wilson said.

Further, Queen’s athletics will aim to work their hardest to accommodate De Goede not just on the field, but in the classroom. In September, she will enter Queen’s commerce program, a well-recognized but very testing program. If handled improperly by the school, it could prove costly for both parties. Wilson said they have no plans of letting that happen.

“[Given] how much time is consumed by high-performance athletics and then how much time is consumed by commerce, we want to make sure we keep Sophie healthy and happy, both socially and emotionally. That’s the part we have to figure out - is what the limits are and what the capabilities are,” Wilson said. “I know Sophie’s a unique individual — she wants to do everything — and I suspect our biggest challenge will be to temper that.”

While the focus right now is on what her life will look like at Queen’s, people should be most excited about what she’ll be bringing to both athletics programs.

Even with over 30 years of coaching experience, Wilson said De Goede is one of a kind.

“I’ve never gotten to the point where the athlete was likely to be highly successful at both sports. They tended to be more talented in one over the other,” Wilson said.

From strictly a basketball point of view, Wilson said her skills complement the team well. “The one thing that stands out for me is that she has a tremendous instinct for rebounding,” Wilson said. He also noted Roby 

Pearson — Queen’s recently-graduated all-time rebounding leader — will be leaving a gap that he believes  he will partly be able to fill with De Goede.

While Barz was unavailable for comment on De Goede due to a recent surgery, De Goede’s accolades gained in the sport speak for themselves. It’s clear that Queen’s has a one-of-a-kind athlete on their hands and both teams couldn’t be more excited for the fall to come.

“She will be a force to be reckoned with straight from the outset,” Wilson concluded.

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