Nice To Beat You: Sophia Smith

What do defenders think when they see a forward charging at them on the dribble? I don’t think they’re too pleased. Especially when there is space behind them and no support. And certainly when they see it’s Sophia Smith with the ball at her feet.

Sometimes a smile is just a smile. But to USA forward Sophia Smith, a newcomer at this year’s tournament, a smile can also be haunting. Intrigued? There’s only one way to find out the story behind it. The story is Smith’s smile isn’t so nice and defenders fear her. Or at least hate when she goes at them.

Essentially, Smith’s own teammate said this about playing against her. So Nike got this soccer ad very much right when they created this “nice to beat you” ad campaign.

“Her ability to turn and go 1-on-1 is next level,” said USWNT teammate Naomi Girma, who plays for the NWSL’s San Diego Wave and was Smith’s teammate at Stanford. “To a defender, she’s annoying.”

Also, it is just a fact: no defender wants an attacker to try to dribble at them at speed. There is just too much unknown that can happen. As a defender you could slip or stumble or dive in. And as the defender you’re just at a disadvantage since you’re trying to run backwards, really. The chance of a misstep is high when you’re moving backwards!

If you’re a soccer coach at the youth level, teach your attacking players to dribble right at the defender. They hate it. Watch the Sophia Smith Nike ad “nice to beat” you in the video below.

On the club level with the Portland Thorns, Smith has done everything. At just 22 years old she was named league MVP, led the Thorns to the NWSL title, and earned MVP honors in the championship game.

That’s quite a lot. Smith has made no secret that she wants to be the best player in the world. This World Cup, Smith could become that player.

Smith has that killer instinct and desire. She knows how to beat defenders and score goals, obviously. If she can get a few goals in the tournament to build confidence, she could lead the United States to a three-peat.

The Nike ad says it all. Nice to beat you.