Sophie de Goede of Victoria is proving as able in the classroom as on the field or court. The Oak Bay High School graduate and commerce major is among the top-eight U Sports academic all-Canadians named Monday for the 2019-20 season.
De Goede, who was a standout in both rugby and basketball for Queen’s University, is currently playing pro rugby with defending women’s English Premiership club Saracens after completing three U Sports seasons with the Golden Gaels of Queen’s.
“In my 38 years of U Sports coaching, I have not seen another athlete or another person, reach such elite status in all of the different endeavours to which she devotes her time. It is truly remarkable,” said Queen’s women’s basketball head coach Dave Wilson, in a statement.
Also named to the top-eight academic team are Tokyo Olympics-candidate swimmers Markus Thormeyer of the UBC Thunderbirds and Kelsey Wog of the Manitoba Bisons, Laurentian basketball player Kadre Gray, Laval Rouge et Or cross-country runner and track sprinter Jean-Simon Desgagnés and swimmer Marie-Lou Lapointe from the Montreal Carabins. The Dalhousie Tigers of Halifax had two athletes selected with swimmer Isabel Sarty and track and field star Matt Coolen.
“Faced with immense challenges, this year’s class of academic all-Canadians adapted remarkably to altered COVID-19 learning environments, demonstrating their leadership in the classroom and in their respective communities,” said interim U Sports CEO Dick White, in a statement.
With health guidelines ruling out the regular formal ceremony at Rideau Hall, the eight athletes will take part in a public virtual conversation with Governor General Julie Payette in mid-February. The Governor General’s Academic All-Canadian Commendation began in 2013 and was founded by former Governor General David Johnston. The top male and female academic athletes from each of the four U Sports conferences are selected annually.
De Goede expanded her all-round prowess from Oak Bay to become a rare two-sport U Sports varsity athlete at Queen’s, which is located in Kingston, Ont. She was named Queen’s female athlete of the year for 2019-20. The Islander was also selected U Sports female rugby top rookie in her first season and is a three-time all-Canadian. De Goede averaged 12.5 points per game on the court last season as a forward for the Queen’s basketball team.
Her sporting bloodlines, particularly in rugby, flow deep. Dad Hans de Goede came out of Vic High and James Bay Athletic Association to be named twice to the all-world XV and captain Canada in the first men’s World Cup in 1987. Mom Stephanie White captained Canada in the first women’s World Cup and played in two others. Brother Thyssen de Goede was capped for Canada in XVs and played in the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games in sevens. Uncle John de Goede played U Sports basketball for the University of Saskatchewan Huskies and uncle Jim de Goede was the goalkeeper for the B.C. and Canadian champion Vic West soccer dynasty of the 1970s and 1980s.
Already capped six times, the 21-year-old Sophie de Goede will follow her parents onto the international rugby stage with No. 3 Canada at the 2021 women’s World Cup in the fall in New Zealand. The six-foot, No. 8 position player came up through the Castaways Wanderers club, along with Tokyo Olympics-bound Canadian rugby sevens player Caroline Crossley.
“Sophie has such unbelievable parents who supported her,” Castaway Wanderers manager Brent Johnston has said.
“She is so approachable off the pitch yet so steely-eyed in games.”