Hard works pays off for Kaylyn Kyle
"I play because I love the game! I'm proud to be from Saskatchewan and to wear the Canadian jersey"
As a young soccer player growing up in Saskatoon, Kaylyn Kyle knew exactly how far she wanted to go in the sport. In fact, she even wrote "Kaylyn Kyle, #6, Team Canada," on one of her mother's little yellow sticky notes.
At the time, it may have seemed like an impossible dream, but flash forward to present time and Kyle has not only achieved her goal, but also helped her country achieve a new national standard. At the 2012 London Summer Olympics, Kyle was a midfielder for the Canadian Women's Soccer Team that beat France 1-0 in the bronze-medal game. It was the team's first Olympic medal ever.
At the age of 26, she remains a solid contributor on the team.
"I wish everyone would feel what I'm feeling right now. It's tough to put into words some days," Kyle said in a media interview. "I never thought [my dream] would actually come true."
Kyle credits her parents for being solid supporters who have allowed her develop into a professional soccer player. She notes that she actually tried a variety of sports growing up, from competitive gymnastics to tennis, before she eventually found her niche.
It wasn't long after she started playing soccer that Kyle realized she had a future in the sport. At the age of 14, she made her debut in the Canadian youth program. Since then, she has gone on to win medals with Team Canada at the Women's World Championship, Cyprus Women's World Cup and Pan American Games.
She has also forged a successful career outside of international competition. Kyle spent six seasons with the Vancouver Whitecaps (2006-2012). In 2011, she scored the game-winning goal in a match to help the team clinch third place. She has since joined a number of international teams and is currently a member of Portland Thorns FC in the National Women's Soccer League.
She has simple advice for young athletes: "It's so cliche to say, and I hate saying it, but it's all about hard work."
Those who put in that hard work will be able to truly get the most out of their sporting experience, just like Kaylyn Kyle.
"I play because I love the game! I'm proud to be from Saskatchewan and to wear the Canadian jersey," she said. "Being able to travel, see the world and meet different people helps make me a well-rounded individual and I owe it all to sport."
Sports have also given Kyle the opportunity to play alongside her idols in Christine Sinclair and Carmelina Moscato.
"I'm best friends with them now," she said. "I used to have their pictures on my wall and I would cheer for them … it's cool to look back on that as a player and know that now I get to put my boots on with them and play alongside them."
• Canada Soccer
• Saskatchewan Soccer Association