Spunky 23-year-old Sydney Leroux may be a citizen of two countries, but when it comes to her stellar soccer career, her allegiance is all U-S-A.
The Canadian-born forward for the Boston Breakers women's pro soccer team already has 12 years of professional playing under her belt, and an Olympic gold medal to boot. Hailing from a family of pro athletes (mom was a softball player; dad played baseball), Sydney opted instead for soccer, becoming the youngest player on the U.S. Women's National Team and a goal-scoring member of the 2012 Olympic Team in London. (Her infamous “goal-scoring face” got more than 40,000 hits on YouTube.)
We chatted with Leroux about her tattoos, candy addiction, and adorable dog, Boss.
SHAPE: Why did you choose to play soccer when your parents have been successful athletes in softball and baseball?
Sydney Leroux (SL): My mom literally put me in every sport possible growing up because I had crazy energy and she thought that if I had three different practices to go to a day, I would eventually get tired. Needless to say, that never worked. Although I took soccer and baseball much more seriously than taekwondo, swimming, and gymnastics, those two sports kind of stuck with me.
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SHAPE: After playing competitive softball and baseball for several years following in your mom's path, how did you make the decision that soccer was the sport for you?
SL: I loved it, but I realized when I was 14 and all of my male counterparts grew three feet during off-season that I probably wasn't going to be the first female Major League Baseball player. So I went to soccer.
SHAPE: Can words explain the emotion you felt and showed—with that hilarious facial expression—after scoring the goal against New Zealand?
SL: Three words: most definitely not.
SHAPE: Besides soccer, is there any other type of exercise you enjoy?
SL: I love yoga; it brings my crazy down to a more peaceful level. It also helps make me more flexible, and if I wasn't so flexible, I probably would have broken a few more bones than I have, given all the hard tackles I get into during a game.
SHAPE: You have been known for your love of body art. How many tattoos do you have?
SHAPE: What is your go to beauty regimen?
SL: Anti-aging cream. You can never start too young! But my go-to products are from Tarte cosmetics. I use everything from their foundations to blush to lipsticks. All across the board, they are eco-friendly and healthy for your skin, and I can't live without tinted moisturizer.
SHAPE: Since you are constantly on the go, how do you make sure you are eating properly?
SL: I try to eat healthy, but I am a sucker for candy. Swedish fish will be the death of me! I was a vegetarian for three years, but I'm not really a fan of vegetables, so I think I'm much healthier now that I'm getting the proper amount of protein. Unfortunately it's from animals, as I eat a lot of meat.
RELATED: Leroux isn't the only one with ink. Check out 15 pro athletes with tattoos.
SHAPE: How old is your dog, Boss, and do you bring him with you everywhere you go especially internationally?
SL: Boss is turning five on August 12. He's not allowed to go on trips with the National Team. The only international trip he ever goes on is to Canada when I bring him home for his grandma to look after him when I have National Team trips.
SHAPE: What has been one of the most rewarding experiences you have had thus far in your career?
SL: When that gold medal was hung around our necks last summer, and I had my team all around me, and my mom in the crowd. I literally felt that life couldn't get any better at that moment.