Schmidt shines with Spartans
When you are six feet and 200 pounds, it is hard to be in someone’s shadows, but that could easily be the case for Spencer Schmidt.
The standout striker for the Trinity Western Spartans men’s soccer team, Schmidt is accomplished on the pitch.
The only problem is, when compared to the exploits of his younger sister, Sophie Schmidt, she casts a large shadow to follow.
The 23-year-old Sophie Schmidt has represented Canada 68 times and plays professionally in the U.S.-based Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) league. She is currently in Mexico playing for Canada at the Pan Am Games.
But while there could be some sibling jealousy between the two, the elder Schmidt sees it a different way.
“I know I taught her everything she knows anyways,” he said with a laugh.
The siblings, as well as another younger brother, grew up around the game in Paraguay.
And when the family moved to Canada — Schmidt was eight or nine — the passion for the sport remained.
Soon after, he joined the rep program with the Abbotsford Soccer Association.
Initially, Schmidt was a goaltender, but with the team missing a striker one game, he took up a coach’s offer to give the position a try and struck for a couple of goals.
And he hasn’t looked back, advancing to the Metro level and then earning a university scholarship.
Schmidt leads the Spartans with seven goals, which is tied for tops in the Canada West conference as Trinity Western fights for one of the four playoff spots.
He scored twice as the Spartans won once and lost once over the weekend.
“He brings goals, and a cannon of a shot,” said coach Pat Rohla.
“And an ability to raise the team’s level of play, the people around him.”
After high school, he attended the University of Washington on a soccer scholarship, but then transferred to the University of the Fraser Valley, where he played the 2007 season with the Cascades, scoring eight goals in 15 games.
This was followed by a two-year hiatus from the game, at least at the university level.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do academically,” he said. “I wanted to take a break and step back and figure out what I wanted to do.”
He remained in the game, playing at the men’s level, and then decided he would study business. With two years of eligibility remaining, Schmidt figured he would take advantage and join the Spartans.
He wasn’t sure what to expect.
“It is always a little bit different when you come back after a couple of years,” he said, especially at such a competitive level like the Canada West conference.
“You are older and you have had a couple of years to figure things out so you are a little bit more motivated, a little bit more focused and you know how to manage your time a little bit better.”
It is also different coming back as a 25-year-old compared to players who may just be fresh out of high school.
Another difference is while they go back to their dorm rooms or wherever they live, Schmidt goes home to his wife of 15 months, Emily.
But the transition has been seamless.
“He has fit right in,” said Rohla. “And he loves being around the team, being in the action.
“He is a coach’s dream.”