Team Canada’s women’s soccer team will head home with Olympic bronze after a 2-1 win over the host Brazilians in their own backyard Friday.
In net for Canada was Spruce Grove’s Stephanie Labbe. The 29-year-old has been playing in the United States and overseas for a while but has close ties to her hometown in Alberta.
“It was super tense. Our whole family was screaming at the TV and cheering for Steph,” said Dave Oldham, Labbe’s former head coach at Spruce Grove Composite High School.
“Super excited for Steph and obviously proud to know her. How she has represented herself and our community has just been awesome over the last number of years. To culminate in an Olympic bronze medal is pretty special.”
Having coached Labbe for a couple of years in high school, Oldman said he saw the potential in her back then and always knew she was destined for greatness.
“Even from being a 16- and 17-year-old, she was very confident, incredibly talented and capable obviously. But you can see even at the young age that she had those characteristics that were going to take her to a high level. She was a great leader, a great teammate and a wonderful role model for our school, even back then. To see her go on and accomplish what she’s done has been pretty special.”
Labbe was the third-string goalie at the 2012 London Olympics, when Canada also took home the bronze medal. But a retirement and injury later, Labbe was the starting keeper at the Rio Olympics.
“A starting goalie in the most popular sport in the world for a team that won a medal at the Olympics, that’s pretty special,” Oldman said.
“She was ready when her time came and took advantage of a unique opportunity and is an Olympic bronze medallist to show for it.”
Labbe graduated high school in 2004. Her prom date was former Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens.
Not only will Labbe come home with a bronze medal, she will come home to a new nephew. Labbe’s nephew was born in Edmonton on Aug. 17, the day after the semi-finals.
With files from Christine Meadows, Global News.