de Goede shines on road to rookie of the year award

First year commerce student balances time between rugby, basketball as well as degree

Sophie de Goede scored 60 points this season.
Credit: 
Supplied by Shawn MacDonald

Juggling two varsity sports and a commerce degree — all in first year, no less — is no easy feat, but Sophie de Goede is managing it all extremely well.

In June, de Goede committed to Queen’s as a dual-sport athlete. According to her rugby coach Dan Valley, he’s not at all surprised by how well de Goede is managing all her different commitments.

“Coming in I knew she was one of the most competitive people I had ever met, and I mean that in a positive way — Sophie has been everything I had expected and hoped she would be,” Valley said.

De Goede has used her first months on campus to show just how special a talent she truly is. With 60 total points on the season — second-most in the OUA — Queen’s star back row was named OUA Rookie of the Year.  

De Goede pointed to her experience in high school as the reason she’s been able to transition so well.

“I was a student-athlete in high school as well, so it hasn’t been too much of an adaptation for me coming into university,” she said.

Having the support of her teammates as well as her coaches has been important for managing rugby and basketball practices alongside school.

“The upper year-students on both teams have also been really helpful in giving me tips to succeed so it’s been a pretty smooth transition thus far,” de Goede said.

For Valley, communication between de Goede, himself, women’s basketball head coach Dave Wilson and her teammates is important to ensuring she manages her time effectively. “Ultimately, she is here to perform as a student above all else. It hasn’t been a challenge with Sophie because she is very highly capable in all those areas,” he said.

De Goede has been sure to make schoolwork a priority, noting that the athletic department has been very accommodating.

“As student-athletes, we’re responsible for managing this balance ourselves but the athletics department does a superb job in setting us up for success in both athletics and academics,” she said.

While the transition seems to be going seamlessly for de Goede since beginning at Queen’s, both her and Valley have made sure to keep an eye out for problems that could arise in the future. With de Goede moving from sport to sport regularly, there’s a high potential for injuries to arise. 

Not only is this management important for athletes, but coaches too. “Injuries are inherent in both sports … that’s the big thing that Dave Wilson and I need to be aware of, that we weren’t overloading her body and making sure she could last the grind of rugby season and then go straight into basketball season and hit the ground running,” Valley said.

A dual-sport athlete in her high school career, de Goede is aware of the strains playing two sports can put on her.

“I’ve really had to put an emphasis on managing my body and getting the proper recovery in for the amount of training I have been doing,” de Goede said.

The general consensus seems to be that de Goede is prepared in every way possible to handle whatever this year throws at her.

“She has been a really positive influence on the program, and again, she has been able to juggle the multiple commitments she has exceptionally well, she is mature beyond her years and there are not too many that could come in and handle the situation as well as she has,” Valley concluded. 

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