Sophie Cortes cracked the women’s soccer starting lineup as a freshman — which just doesn’t usually happen — in 2014. Now the midfielder is one of the team’s top offensive threats. She also has a thing for otters.
You got the first goal of your college career last year as a junior. What happened on the play?
It was off of a free kick. The ball got played short to me. I had a girl pulling on my jersey. As I was falling, because she was pulling on me, I chipped the ball and it sunk far left corner. The keeper couldn't even reach. It was great.
When you’re bearing down on a goalie, when do you know you have them beat?
There's a quote by Abby Wambach that I've noticed is true with me. She says she has never seen the ball hit the back of the net. She'll hit it, she knows it goes in and she'll just run away. That's almost the feeling I get whenever I beat a keeper. You'll see that slot. You'll see her angle shift. There's kind of this little opening of the heavens that happens. For me, I literally know if I hit it right and I run off because I know it went in. It's a very calm feeling. You're thinking so much during the game, but right when you know I'm going to score, right here you just slow down.
How did you feel before your first start as a Rebel?
I was just nauseous. As a freshman you don't necessarily ever see the field. My coach was like ‘make sure you're ready.’ I was like, ‘What? OK, sounds good.’ I felt like I was amongst giants.
If you weren’t playing soccer, what would you be doing?
I would probably just be in school trying to figure out my life. Soccer has given me so many opportunities. I can't even imagine my life without it. I ran track, but I hated running.
What’s the first thing you pack for a road game?
I want to say my mascara. The last thing I pack is my cleats. I forget them sometimes. I'm that girl who will bring everything she needs like my toiletries and my PJs, but I won't bring my necessities like my cleats, my travel gear. One trip I brought one shoe. I didn't tell anyone. My mom was like, ‘I'm bringing you your cleats.’
If you could live inside any movie or TV show, what would it be?
The Notebook. I'm obsessed with Ryan Gosling, and I love Rachel McAdams. And there's this show on Netflix and the BBC; it's called Peaky Blinders. That's my favorite time: Flapper girls, that whole dark and gloomy era.
What animal would you keep as a pet if you could have it at dog or cat size?
I like polar bears, or an otter. An otter is my favorite animal. I would have to tame that thing. Or a lion — a full-grown lion in, like, cub size.