World traveler, family-focused, and most importantly a winner are just some of the many things that describe Shelina Zadorsky. The Washington Spirit defender has created a name for herself in a career that is only just beginning. Having lived life as an ongoing adventure, every stop along the way has helped shape her into the person and athlete she is today.
From a young age, Shelina instantly gravitated towards soccer, instantly becoming a family affair as she followed in the footsteps of her sisters. Those around her would become influential in shaping Zadorsky, even from a young age.
“I was so fortunate to have such influential coaches at a young age who really kind of fostered that passion I had for the game and encouraged me to have fun,” said Zadorsky.
As long as she was on the field playing the game she loved, having fun was never an issue. She even recalls when she was younger having played on an on all-boys team where she not only held her own, but thrived while maintaining that love for the game. The game’s true impact on her, however, goes beyond kicking it with the boys, it has global implications.
Where you have been and whom you have met can be extremely influential factors in an individual’s life. In Shelina Zadorsky’s case, it means everything. Whether she intended it or not, Zadorsky ‘s game has undoubtedly gone global.
The Canadian-born defender spent her collegiate years playing in the States at the University of Michigan. From there, her athletic journey would send her far and wide as she would spend her rookie season playing and living in Australia followed by Sweden. This was until she found herself back in the states playing for the Washington Spirit of the NWSL, though not without a brief stop along the way winning bronze for her native Canada in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
“I have been blessed to play in many areas around the world and to experience all these different cultures, to have different coaching philosophies, and to see how it all changes throughout the globe,” explained Zadorsky. “We all love this game, and it is pretty incredible that a sport can allow people to achieve so much and find that freedom.”
The start of her career and some of her biggest and boldest moments have roots tracing back to a global presence in the sport as they range from people to places. Her childhood soccer coach Joel, who brought over his knowledge of soccer from Haiti, instilled the drive to be better. Her proudest athletic moment was winning the bronze medal in Brazil.
Winning in the Olympics for Zadordsky can best be described as a roller coaster, though all in all a huge learning experience. As the final whistle blew, there was a realization that all her hard work became real and justified. To represent her country, a place that will always be home, was simply monumental.
Her home and its’ people remain a driving force in all she does and who she is. Her family, specifically her mother, are people who have been there for her every step of the way. Instilling resilience in her, embodying the old cliché of “if you get knocked down you should get right back up over and over again.” Her family has been her rock as they push her to achieve higher and be her support system throughout the journey.
The self-described family girl credits all the success she has had, thus far, to her surroundings and people around her. With a love for her family, seeing the world around her, and perhaps most importantly the game of soccer, Zadorsky has already done so much that it is easy to forget that she is only 24-years old and in the early stages of her career.
The best is yet to come for Zadorsky, professionally and personally.