Meet Sophia Smith, An Early Star Of The 2023 Women’s World Cup

The 22-year-old soccer star is already an MVP.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 22: Sophia Smith #11 of the United States celebrates scoring during the...
Robin Alam/USSF/Getty Images Sport/Getty Images

Stars like Alex Morgan and Megan Rapinoe have long been staples of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, but sadly they can’t play forever. Luckily, there’s already new talent on the scene, as Sophia Smith showed in her FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 debut on Friday, July 21. The 22-year-old forward announced herself on her sport’s biggest stage by scoring just 14 minutes into her first game, then adding a second goal and an assist before the final whistle. Team USA defeated Vietnam 3-0, and Smith’s stellar performance cemented her as an early breakout star of this year’s tournament.

Having won the World Cup in 2015 and 2019, the U.S. women’s national team is on a mission to become the first to win three consecutive championships. “There’s only one thing in mind: we’re going into this tournament to win,” coach Vlatko Andonovski told the Los Angeles Times in the lead-up to the event. “I don’t think anyone on our team thinks different.”

Smith is expected to be a big factor in whether or not they can achieve the three-peat. She’s the team’s top scorer and she’s already made her mark as a college, professional, and international player. Andonovski described her as “special” in September 2022, explaining that her playstyle “gives [them] another layer” to strategize and “expose teams,” per ESPN. Here’s everything to know about the soccer standout.

Sophia Smith’s Current Teams

For diehard soccer fans, Smith has been on the radar for years. Her two seasons playing for Stanford University included the team’s 2019 NCAA Championship win and culminated in her being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2020 National Women’s Soccer League draft. She was selected by the Portland Thorns, her current NWSL team. In just her second season as a pro footballer, Smith won the 2022 NWSL championship and became the youngest-ever NWSL MVP.

Not only did Smith join the NWSL in 2020, she also made her first appearance on the U.S. national team. Her debut on Nov. 27, 2020 made her the first player born in the 2000s to earn a cap for the USWNT. She ramped up quickly and was named the U.S. Soccer Female Player of the Year in 2022 after scoring a team-leading 11 goals.

Sophia Smith’s Background

Smith, who was born in Fort Collins, Colorado, comes from an athletic family. Their sport of choice, however, was basketball. Her dad and older sister Savannah were both college basketball players, and Smith herself played it in high school, along with soccer. It seems like the whole family has gotten on board with being a soccer family, too. When she won the Visa Player of the Match award on July 21, her dad presented her with the award.

Sophia Smith’s Instagram

Smith’s soccer career is front and center on her Instagram account; she shares everything from training to matches to recovery. Meanwhile, her followers also get a look at her life outside of soccer, including her boyfriend, Michael Wilson (another Stanford student-turned-professional athlete), her family, and friends. Follow her, and you may see her with a World Cup trophy in the future.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2023 runs through Aug. 20.