Olympic Medal Experience Drives Former Gamecock to Work for More
Sabrina D’Angelo has a nice new piece of hardware, and the former South Carolina All-American goalkeeper is having a great time with it. D’Angelo recently earned a bronze medal with Team Canada at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, and even though she went right back to work playing for the Western New York Flash in the National Women’s Soccer League, D’Angelo is not letting that medal out of her site.
“The first night, I definitely slept with it,” D’Angelo laughed. “I wore it in the beginning for a couple of days, and now when I’m traveling with my pro team, I carry it in a little case. So it’s always with me. I’m very open to letting other people put it around their neck, but then I get it back right away because I don’t want them running away with it. I like getting to share it with people. It’s exciting.”
D’Angelo earned many honors during her playing days at South Carolina from 2011–2014. She was a three-time All-America and First Team All-SEC selection and was twice named the SEC Defensive Player of the Year. For D’Angelo, earning a medal at the Olympics was a dream come true.
“Coming home with a medal was unbelievable, and it was huge for Canada,” D’Angelo said. “The style we’re playing right now is phenomenal. We were dominating tier 1 teams. It’s just huge for us to show how far we’ve come.
“That moment when they blew the whistle, and knowing that we had played Brazil in their home country, beat them and had the medal put around my neck; it was such a huge honor,” D’Angelo said. “The emotions just came up. It was so great.”
Canada defeated host Brazil 2–1 in the bronze medal match, and D’Angelo said it was the biggest crowd she had ever played before.
“It was definitely the biggest crowd that was cheering against me,” D’Angelo laughed. “Before the game, when they played their (Brazil’s) national anthem, it was so inspiring. I’ve heard the Canadian national anthem and of course the United States’, but they had so much passion in their national anthem, and you could feel it. It gave me chills. It motivated me, so I can only imagine what it did for Brazil’s team.”
“I’m already hungry for the next Olympics and the next World Cup.”
Earlier, D’Angelo overcame a wrist injury prior to the Olympics to earn her spot on the roster and was in goal when Team Canada defeated Zimbabwe 3–1.
“Just getting to walk out next to (Team Canada captain) Christine Sinclair and singing the national anthem, and seeing the crowd, I remember thinking `Holy moly, I’m at the Olympics,’ “ D’Angelo said. “Just to know that I helped our team earn our spot in the quarterfinals was unbelievable.”
Now that she has had her first taste of the Olympics, D’Angelo is already hungry for more.
“Being the number two goalkeeper, I’m driving to be the number one,” D’Angelo said. “I want that for myself, and I want the gold for my team. So yeah, I’m already hungry for the next Olympics and the next World Cup.”
D’Angelo noted that she kept in touch with Gamecock head coach Shelley Smith and associate head coach Jamie Smith during her Olympic experience, and she wouldn’t mind showing off her medal at her alma mater.
“I was in contact with them during the Olympics and after,” D’Angelo said. “They’re like family to me. To have their support throughout the Olympics was amazing. I’m so excited to go down and see them after my season ends up here.”