She’s barely 5 feet, but she’s ranked among the top 10 players in the world at her position. Winnipegger Desiree Rose Marie Scott has certainly come a long way since joining the Canadian Women’s Soccer Team in February of 2010 as a 22-year-old.
Fast forward 6 1/2 years, and the just turned 29-year-old on July 31st has joined an elite group of only 15 women with 100 or more national team appearances for Canada.
This incredible ambassador for women’s soccer began playing soccer at the age of 8 for the Maples Cougars.
“The reason I started playing was because my old brother, Nick, played. I just remember that was something we bonded over. Being the younger sister I wanted to get my big brother to like me, so this was something we could connect with and do together, and so that’s where the love stemmed from,” said Scott.
But “Desi” as she is affectionately known by her family, friends and legion of fans, did play many other sports.
“Volleyball, with my 5’1 stature, basketball, but I think my favorite was track, which I was decently good at.”
Desiree played for FC Northwest, before starring for the U of M Bisons, earning Canada West Conference Rookie of the Year honors in 2005 and culminating as a CIS First Team All Star during her final year in ’09. During that time Scott also suited up the Vancouver Whitecaps FC of the W League and played her way onto the radar of the national team program.
And besides older brother Nick, Desiree also had another family member to use as inspiration for her blossoming soccer career – her late father Hopeton who immigrated to Canada from Jamaica before Desi was even born.
“When he came over to Canada, he was the one that sort of brought soccer into our family. The number 11 is huge for our family. My dad wore it when he played, my brother wears it and as you know I wear number 11, so it’s a big honor to represent that for him. Before every game I ask my dad for strength to get through the match and guide me through it and I know he’s there looking down very proudly,” said Scott.
And there have been no shortage of proud moments for Mom, Charlene, oldest brother Christopher Hawkins and 2 younger foster siblings. That memorable Olympic tournament in 2012, that included the heart breaking loss to the US in the semifinal, the exhilarating win over France for the bronze medal, and a sixth place finish in last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup would ordinarily top the list. Had it not been for the chance to play the Americans in her hometown a year ago in May in a FIFA Friendly at Investors Group Field.
Off the pitch, Desiree has been a tremendous supporter of Kidsport hosting her own soccer clinics. She has also coached at West K and the U of M as well as championing the cause the past 3 years for Homeless World Cup, a soccer tournament first played in 2003 to aid in the global solution for homelessness.
Home has been many places for Desiree who has also played for Notts County in England and Kansas City FC of the National Women’s Soccer League. So what has been her favorite in all the places her soccer travels have taken her? For a self-confessed romantic like Desiree, the Eifel Tower in Paris where the team was recently to prepare for Rio, would seem like a slam dunk. But apparently not so.
“Rome, Italy. We were able to train there for a few months, actually. You could see the Coliseum outside your hotel window. The food was amazing and the culture was brilliant. I’m going to say that was my most interesting and favorite place to train,” said Scott.
So then it makes sense that Pizza would be Desi’s favorite food, but oatmeal is not. She’s a huge fan of Denzel Washington, and will take time out of her busy schedule to binge watch Scandal. In school, she loved gym class, but wasn’t the best student when it came to Math.
She fears spiders. But not tackling bigger – stronger opponents. Which prompted National Women’s Team Head Coach John Herdman to give her the nickname, The Destroyer, she has come to be known by.
Canada’s first game in group F Play is set for 1 p.m. our time Wednesday Afternoon versus Australia- and if Desiree Scott and company are able to advance to the final four, there is a chance she could see one of her heroes, Usain Bolt- for a second time.
“In London, he was the one event that I was dying to see and I actually got to see him run his 200m final. I was very excited to see him; he’s an idol, he’s a champion.”
And so would coming home with a second Olympic medal to an airport full of adoring fans, just like it was 4 years ago for Desiree Rose Marie Scott.