Oak Bay High student Sophie de Goede is a national name in rugby after being named the Young Female Player of the Year during Rugby Canada’s 2016 Awards Dinner. The annual event recognizes individuals, clubs and teams that have positively impacted rugby in Canada and includes volunteer appreciation, annual awards and the latest Hall of Fame and Honorary Life Membership inductees.
“I was really honoured both to receive the award and to be recognized alongside my mother who’s done so much for women’s rugby, and rugby in general, in Canada,” Sophie said.
Her mom Stephanie White was named an Honorary Life Member.
White was the first captain of the women’s 15s playing in two Women’s Rugby World Cups. She was a member of Rugby Canada’s board of directors, served as a coach and is currently chair of the Monty Heald Fund which raised funds to eliminate the pay to play process for Canada’s senior women’s team as they prepare to play in the 2017 Women’s Rugby World Cup in Ireland this year.
“It was a real special night to be honoured alongside Sophie,” said White. “Women’s Rugby in Canada has come along way since the first Canadian Women’s team played here in Victoria in 1987. It was especially neat to see Sophie playing with the Maple Leafs side in BC Place in front of all those people.”
This year, Sophie represented Canada at the U18 Women’s Rugby Championships in France and the Rugby Americas North Rugby Championship in Trinidad and Tobago. More recently, the 17-year-old Victoria, BC native was centralized where she trains on a daily basis with Canada’s women’s sevens team.
“Vancouver 7’s was a ton of fun and now we are looking forward to watching our Canadian Women’s team play at the Langford 7’s at the end of May,” White said.
Other national awards with Oak Bay ties include, Ray Barkwill, who plays for the Castaway Wanderers when he isn’t representing Canada on the National Men’s team, earning the Canadian Shield Award.
The 2017 Rugby Canada Hall of Fame Class included former CW players Ro Hindson and Gareth Rees.
In other awards, Evan Olmstead was named Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Nathan Hirayama, Men’s Sevens Player of the Year, and Kayla Moleschi, Women’s Sevens Player of the Year.