Early morning shooting is commonplace for 15-year-old Sophie de Goede. She can be found three days a week in the gym at Oak Bay High following a program designed to improve her basketball skills. She downloads them from the web then spends 60 to 90 minutes those mornings working on the routines.
“I find it really helpful to have a program so you’re not aimlessly shooting around and not improving,” de Goede said.
The system seems to work, she was named as an underage player on the B.C. U17 basketball team last month.
“I like challenges I think it’ll really help me improve, playing with challenging players that are better and more skilled. It will help me become better and more skilled,” she said.
Her Team B.C. experience is vast. She made the roster for rugby U16 (15s) last season and U18 (7s) rugby this season. In basketball she played on the U14 and U15 teams, skipping the provincial U16 team to score a place on the U17 roster.
Aside from high-level rugby and basketball, de Goede participates in volleyball, soccer, track and field and cross country. The weekdays she’s not shooting around at school, she’s up early carpooling from Oak Bay across Saanich for Sport School at the Pacific Institute for Sport Excellence. There she gathers with like-minded youth of all ages and sports.
“It’s non sport specific but you’re working on being a better athlete,” she said, adding with a smile, “It’s worth waking up at 6:30 in the morning.”
“We all have the same mindset, dedicated, hard workers … they understand your schedule,”
A series of tournaments with the provincial U17 team culminates in a national competition that tends to draw post-secondary recruiters’ attention.
“I’m hoping to get a scholarship for basketball or stay in Victoria and play national rugby. But I definitely want to do post secondary,” de Goede said. “My parents make sure I remember… I’m a student athlete.”
She’s a Grade 9 student in the French immersion stream at Oak Bay High and loves to travel. So while her dream job is with the International Olympic Committee, at this stage she figures maybe some business or law in university.
“I look at it as a challenge. A team to make friends, as well as develop more skills and basketball IQ. Get better as an athlete and a person,” she said.
De Goede credits coaching at Oak Bay High to the level of success they have in sport – she was on several top-three teams in the province last year – as well as school spirit.
“We have wonderful coaches here,” she said. “It’s really enjoyable. You build these wonderful memories. The whole school gets behind you. We’ve got a real school spirit here.”