Centre back doing her family proud
On Thursday night, Sophie Howard made her fifth consecutive appearance for the national team and after being called up for the first time a year ago, the 24-year-old defender is now a regular for Shelley Kerr’s side.
Eligible to play for Scotland through her Scottish Mum, the German born defender and former Germany Under-20s player had a British upbringing and is now doing her family proud by pulling on the Scotland jersey.
Making her debut against Belgium last April, Howard was contacted by Anna Signeul following some detective work by Lisa Evans and she has now amassed nine caps for Scotland.
Sophie, what did you make of the 1-0 defeat to Switzerland?
We were disappointed as we didn’t play the way we can and we didn’t get the result wanted.
Switzerland were the better team and we have to accept that. We are now determined to do better for the next game.
How important is the game against Poland?
It’s a game we have to win and it’ll be a tough 90 minutes. It’s as important as the game on Thursday. We didn’t get the win against Switzerland so we now have to get the three points against Poland.
How are you enjoying playing so regularly at the moment for the national team?
As you can imagine I’m really enjoying it. I’m loving playing so much and gaining the coaching staff’s trust. I played right back on Thursday which was unusual for me as I usually play centre-back but I’ll take whatever I get and try my best if I get the call.
I’m competing with two other brilliant centre backs in Jen (Beattie) and Rachel (Corsie) so to still be fitted into the team at right back was really pleasing. It was a good feeling to have that trust put in me by the coach and has given me confidence going forward.
How has your season been going in Germany with 1899 Hoffenheim?
We’ve had a tough start to the league playing the top opposition first so we’ve not won any of our four opening games. That’s been hard but we lost narrowly 1-0 against Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich. Those are results we can accept but we’ve not been playing the way we’re capable of and in football, that’s always such a disappointing thing.
How do you qualify for Scotland?
My Grandfather on my Mum’s side is Scottish and although I was born in Germany, all of my Mum’s relatives live in Scotland. It’s something I can give back to my family and do them proud.
I’m proud to be able to play for my family.
What did playing for Germany Under-20s do in terms of helping your development early on as a player?
It was such a high level and very competitive. Being part of the youth team definitely defined my playing style but deep inside I am British and I think you can see that on the pitch as well.
Would you say you have grown in confidence since first being called up?
Definitely. When I was first called up I didn’t play a huge part but it was nice to get lots of experience around the squad.
Now I feel really part of the team and it’s a great group of girls to be around.
Lisa Evans is the person who put Anna Signeul in touch with me when she realised I had Scottish relations.
I knew her from playing against her when she played with Bayern. She helped set the whole thing up and it was good knowing someone when I was introduced into the squad.
We get along really well, as I do now with all the girls.