This week on 10 Questions with a Pro we got to learn more about Canadian U20 International that represented Canada this summer at the U20 Women’s World Cup, Nichelle Prince.
Her father was born in Jamaica, while her mother was born in New Jersey, USA, but Nichelle grew up playing soccer in Ajax, Ontario. She was 15 years old when she made her debut for Canada, and has been part of the national program since.
She is the first female footballer that we have had the pleasure to interview for our weekly series.
FootyFair: First off I want to congratulate you and the team for the amazing campaign you guys had at the U20 World Cup. You made it to the QF of the competition, and played very well against some very difficult opposition. Are you satisfied with your performances and the overall performance of the team?
Nichelle Prince: I wouldn't say that I am completely satisfied giving that we did not make it to the last day of the tournament. However, I feel like as a team we grew throughout the tournament and overcame a lot of adversity. And as for myself personally, I think I played well and had an impact on our attack. After a year and a half of being with the u20 team I have learned a lot about myself as a player and have gained confidence and I think that showed at the World Cup.
FF: The team seemed to have a real chemistry, who on the team would you give credit for the way everyone came together so well?
NP: We as a team consider ourselves to be "21 sisters" because of how close we are on and off the field. We all respect one another and have friendships beyond the field which I think is important. We worked really hard with our mental coach and with each other to bring that connection on to the field.
FF: Do you have any pre-game rituals? Things you do or don’t do the night before a big match?
NP: Since I was really young my dad use to make me oatmeal porridge before every track meet (the sport I use to play) and soccer game. He would get up at 5 in the morning to make it for me and my sisters if we had early games so now In the morning, before every game I have oatmeal for breakfast.
FF: Your goal against Finland was part of one of the most incredible comebacks in Canadian soccer history. Is that goal one of the biggest highlights of your young soccer career?
NP: It definitely was. That game was played in Toronto which is where I am from so to be able to have all my family and friends witness that and be there for me in that moment was amazing. Seeing my mom and dad in the stands and having the crowd behind us was unreal. I think that comeback inspired a lot of people and that was one of our goals as a team.
FF: Was representing Canada at a World Cup one of your dreams growing up in Ajax Ontario?
NP: The first time I was introduced to international soccer that I remember was in 2003 when my family went to watch the Women's World Cup that was held in the United States. I remember being in the stands and thinking how good the teams were. So around then it became my dream but it wasn't until I was 15 that I thought it could become a reality.
FF: Now that the World Cup is over for you, what will be next in your personal agenda?
NP: I am back to school now at The Ohio State University. Our soccer season is just starting so I am looking to get back into the swing of things with my team and hopefully have a successful season with them!
FF: If you could invite any 4 soccer players for a family dinner at your house, who would they be and why?
NP: Christine Sinclair because she is Canada's hero and such an inspiring and humble person! Cristiano Ronaldo because he is one of the best players in the world and because I think he gets a bad rep by the media but I don't believe that he has bad as some believe him to be. Mia Hamm because she was one of the first women soccer players I looked up to and she had an amazing career. And last but not least Messi because I believe that he is the best player in the world and he is still seems to remain humble and a good teammate. I'm also reading a book about him right now and his life seems very interesting!
FF: You must know that you and your team mates have many young girls looking up to you guys as an inspiration for their own hopes and dreams of one day playing at the highest level. What would you tell those girls to help them continue on their path?
NP: I would tell them to be ready when their opportunity comes. I live by those words because I was not a part of the provincial program until I was 15, before then I was just on a club team. When I got a tryout I was prepared and confident because I had done the work way before. A lot of people get an opportunity and then begin to start the work they should of been doing way before. Ask yourself if you were to get a chance at your dream right now, would you be ready? If not, keep working, keep pushing, keep sacrificing, you'll get there!
FF: Canada will be hosting the World Cup next summer. Are you planning on attending the matches as a fan, or do you believe you can work towards making the Canadian roster?
NP: It would be amazing to be able to play at the World Cup next year. However, I'm just taking each day at a time and focusing on improving my game in my school environment and maybe getting invited into camps. Either way, I'll be supporting Canada all the way!
FF: Who was your biggest idol growing up?
NP: Definitely my older sister Christine. When I was younger I went to all of her games and admired her passion and leadership on the field. She knows so much about the game and to this day, she is someone who I can talk to about my performance. Both her and my younger sister, Kendra, is always there to support me.
We thank Nichelle Prince for taking the time to share her experiences with FootyFair.com and our readers.