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Rio 2016: soccer player Stephanie Labbe’s old coach knew she was destined for greatness

Team Canada's Stephanie Labbe and her former high school soccer coach Dave Oldham at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. 
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Team Canada's Stephanie Labbe and her former high school soccer coach Dave Oldham at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. . Credit: Dave Oldham

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.

READ MORE: Rio 2016: Female athletes leading the way for Team Canada at Rio Games

“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.”

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READ MORE: Rio 2016: Canada wins bronze in nail-biting women’s soccer match

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.”

READ MORE: Rio 2016: Canada’s beaten its 19 medal target – was it too low?

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.”

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Labbe graduated high school in 2004. Her prom date was former Edmonton Oilers goalie Ben Scrivens.

Former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens and Team Canada soccer player Stephanie Labbe went to prom together in 2004.
Former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens and Team Canada soccer player Stephanie Labbe went to prom together in 2004. Credit: Stephanie Labbe's Twitter account
Former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens and Team Canada soccer player Stephanie Labbe went to prom together in 2004.
Former Edmonton Oilers goaltender Ben Scrivens and Team Canada soccer player Stephanie Labbe went to prom together in 2004. Credit: Stephanie Labbe's Twitter account

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.