Recently Women’s World Football Show featured an exclusive sit-down interview with Canada Women’s National Team midfielder Desiree Scott.
“The Destroyer,” as she is aptly nicknamed, is currently playing club football with Utah Royals FC in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL).
During the interview however, we experienced some technical difficulties beyond our control (there are a lot of mountains in Utah that get in the way of things like phone reception!).
Because we are huge Des Scott fans and know you are too, we’ve transcribed the interview in full right here! So if you had a hard time listening on the show (that’s Episode 123) or if you loved the interview and want more – here’s your chance!
Special Thanks to: Melissa Tan for transcribing the interview; Carla Haslam at Utah Royals FC for setting up the interview; and of course the one and only Desiree Scott for taking time to chat! #CanadaRed
Women’s World Football Show: Joining us is one of the more popular players in women's soccer. She has over 130 caps for the Canadian Women's National Team, is a 2-time Olympic bronze medal winner and is now running the midfield for the Utah Royals. Please welcome Desiree Scott – The Destroyer! Hey, Des. Thank you for coming on the show.
Desiree Scott: Hi, thanks for having me.
WWFS: I called you “The Destroyer.” You've had that nickname for a long time. Do you remember the first time someone called you “The Destroyer” or where it originated?
DS: Yeah, I love the nickname. My playing style resembles the destroyer that comes out of me. I remember in 2012 during our Olympic Qualifiers, our coach, John Herdman at the time, said, "You destroyed them out there!" From there it stuck. So, it's pretty cool.
WWFS: Yeah, it's cool. You live up to it.
DS: Why, thank you.
WWFS: I'm really excited to talk about Utah. You just finished up a lengthy homestand in Utah. You guys played 4 straight at home, which is unheard of in this league. How has it helped you as far as getting to know your new surroundings, your home, community, and things?
DS: Yeah, I think having a home series like that, like you said, it's not very likely to have so much time at home, which would make it tough to build a routine. But, you get time with a new training environment, you're building relationships, and you're building momentum. And at the end of the week, you have your favorite day – game day!
It's been great being able to get settled here and having the community get behind us. Getting into a routine is the biggest thing for me.
WWFS: You played a year at Notts County, a team that's no longer around and you played at FC Kansas City, which is no longer around. Unfortunately, that's the sad reality of women's club football. What do you see different in Utah that you didn't see in those other clubs?
DS: I hope it's not me! (laughs) But that's not the case this year. The biggest thing about the Utah Royals is that we’re associated with a men's club. We have an ownership and community that's completely behind us and wants to support us in every way possible. I think we have that solid foundation to build something really special.
We've got some great players here: the big US-name players, big Canadian players, players from Australia, all over the world.
It's come full circle with the amount of support we're getting and the players we've been able to recruit to come to Utah.
WWFS: Talking about that support, opening day at Rio Tinto Stadium was crazy and you guys are still bringing in the big crowds. I know that you're used to playing in front of huge crowds with the National Team, is it different on a club level to experience crowds like that or do you just tune it out?
DS: No, I'm used to playing in front of a big crowd. I think they bring the energy and they raise us up as well with every tackle or pass. It makes the game more fun.
In past seasons, we've had great fans, but maybe not the numbers we're getting here – 19,000 at our home opener and we're getting 8,000 at every game in Utah. It's great to have that kind of support.
WWFS: You've played under some great coaches in your career. How do you like playing for Laura Harvey?
DS: I love it. I've heard great things about her. We've played against her, obviously,
when she coached Seattle Reign. If I wasn't going to have Vlatko Andonovski as my coach, then Laura Harvey is the next best thing for sure.
I think she's such a great coach. She allows you to have ownership and allows you to play freely with a little bit of tactics. Her mind is incredible. After games, if you have any questions, they're being answered. She also asks, "What do you think?" She wants your opinion on things. It's a two-way conversation, which is cool. She really knows her stuff. It's been great so far.
WWFS: Is she allowing you the freedom to be yourself? You're known for playing your own kind of game.
DS: Yeah, I mean, free reign to get stuck in and make that big tackle. That's what I thrive on, but I think that's what coaches try to tell me, "Make that first big tackle, make a statement." She's allowed me to play freely and do what I can, break up a play and get the ball forward when I can.
WWFS: It's been super fun watching you guys play.
DS: Yeah, I'm loving it and the more we play, the chemistry is building, and the momentum is building. We had a few ties to start the season off, we got our first win and I think we're starting to gel and really come together as a team now.
WWFS: You can see the momentum. Speaking of new coaches, you have a new head coach on the National Team, Kenneth Heiner-Møller. How's the team adjusting to the change and especially since coach [John] Herdman was so intricate for so many years.
DS: Luckily, Kenneth was our assistant coach for the last year. If we didn't know who was coming in, it could have been tougher for the transition. Having John, who was such an incredible mentor and coach, his soccer brain was uncanny. He was a huge part of my success and our team's success to get on that podium back-to-back with him.
At first we were kind of like, ‘Oh, my god, John is leaving us? What are we going to do?’ But it's been a smooth transition with Kenneth. It's a similar playing style and his mindset towards games. He knows all of us players, so it's been smooth to be honest. We're loving him. He brings his own kind of energy and his own style, and I think it's been great.
WWFS: Speaking of Canada, it's a very different team than what we saw at the 2015 Women's World Cup, even 2016 Olympics. Going into World Cup Qualifiers, what can the fans expect to see in this team than in the past?
DS: We've lost some of our veterans to retirement since 2015/2016, but we have our core group still there. We've brought in some of the young ones who you saw in Rio (2016 Olympics) and they're now starting and making a name for themselves.
We have pace up front and people who can live on the ball. We're playing an exciting brand of soccer, we're playing out of the back and we're comfortable on the ball. Obviously, we're going to bring our defensive DNA and that Canadian grit. You're going to see a team that enjoys being on the ball a bit more and bringing their bravery when we have possession.
WWFS: Among the young players on the Canadian Women's National Team, is there one player in particular who you've taken under your wing or mentored?
DS: I feel like a mama bear with all the young players coming through. In the midfield, you probably know her name, there's Jessie Fleming – she's not new to the team, but I think she's a rising star for this team. She plays in front of me in the midfield. There are times when I wouldn't want to get it and she's like, "I'll go get it," kind of thing. She can bring a lot of things, she's confident on the ball, she goes forward, she's got pace. She's a very exciting player to play with and is one to watch for sure.
WWFS: Speaking of young players, the next question is for our young footballers listening... and our old footballers, too, I guess. You have a very unique style of playing. Some call it aggressive. I call it fearless! I think you're so fearless. When did you develop your style of play? Was it something that you consciously worked on or did it evolve naturally?
DS: I think it evolved naturally. I'm quite competitive. I think anyone who plays professional sports is a competitor. For me, I hate to lose and it's built into my core. I think it's something that's developed over time. Making those big tackles is my bread and butter.
Some people may call it aggressive, but, for me, it's just part of who I am and part of my game and style of play. I've been The Destroyer and putting in some good tackles and following them through is what it's all about.
WWFS: When you were younger, did you ever have a coach or maybe an adult who told you to dial it back or tried to change your style?
DS: You'd be surprised, I haven't gotten a lot of red cards or yellow cards. To be honest, all of my coaches have been so supportive. They've been like, "Get stuck in and make those tackles." In my pre-game prep, they'll say, "Get stuck in."
WWFS: Like I've said, it's super fun to watch. When we're rooting for you at the club level, it's fantastic, but when you're playing against the United States, it's kind of different.
DS: (Laughs) Those are always fun games.
WWFS: Since we're talking coaching, I know you do a lot of coaching in the off-season. What's the one piece of advice that you give to young aspiring footballers who dream of having a professional soccer career someday like you do?
DS: I'm pretty simple and straight forward. I think you've got to love what you're doing. I wouldn't have thought I could be playing soccer into my thirties and still traveling the world and doing what I love.
So, 1) Love what you're doing and 2) The hard work always pays off. If you want to work for something, you never know where an opportunity will take you.
WWFS: One last question. Of course, being from Winnipeg, you're a bit hockey fan I know you're a bit disappointed that the Jets didn't make it to the Stanley Cup final, but it was exciting?
DS: Yeah, I think it's been incredible. I've been watching the series all along with my jersey on and my T-shirt repping the city. It's exciting times.
WWFS: Just a side note, we had Lindsay Agnew and Nichelle Prince on recently. As a Canadian, you'll be embarrassed. We asked them which team they thought would win the Stanley Cup and 1) Neither of them knew who was in the Stanley Cup playoffs and 2) They both said the Maple Leafs. This was after they were eliminated.
DS: (Laughs) They're supporting their city, I guess, that's why. I'm from Winnipeg. I post about it all the time. I'm gonna have to have a word [with them]. A little chat.
WWFS: Desiree Scott, so awesome to talk with you. Thank you for taking the time to come on this show. We really appreciate it.
DS: I appreciate you guys having a chat with me.
This interview was conducted exclusively for Women’s World Football Show by co-host Patty La Bella and transcribed by Melissa Tan. Listen to the full interview, visit Episode 123.
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