Daphne Corboz, the 24-year old midfielder for Sky Blue FC is coming into her own in her first year in the NWSL. The NJ native is no stranger to professional soccer, as she signed with Manchester City straight out of college and spent two seasons with one of the best club’s in England before making her way back stateside. I chatted with Daphne Corboz this week about her time at Man City, how she first got into soccer, and her second passion outside of soccer!
Hannah Kronick: Let’s kick it off with any thoughts you have on how the season has been going so far personally and as a team, coming off some very strong performances from your NJ side, although the most recent two haven’t necessarily fallen in your favor.
Daphne Corboz: Personally, it’s been a little unfortunate as for the timing of things lately—injury, illness, and I was just back in Manchester for exams, but as a team, I think we are doing super well. I think that hopefully we can continue to do that as the season goes on.
HK: So, stepping back a bit before your time with Sky Blue, why did you decide to head to Manchester City right after Georgetown?
DC: My decision to go abroad after Georgetown was just a matter of me feeling like if I went abroad, I would learn a lot and it would challenge me because I would be put into a whole new environment with different coaches, coaching styles, players, and just the overall atmosphere. When I visited Manchester City and saw everything that they had there, I was easily convinced to go there.
HK: What would you say was the best part of your experience at Man City?
DC: I think that I had an excellent time there and we were very successful while I was there. I feel that I really was put into a training environment with coaches and the group of players that we had that really just wanted to be the best possible group that we could be and I thought that was something really special to be a part of- where everyone was 100% working towards that goal.
HK: What was your favorite memory from your time at Man City?
DC: My first season we qualified for Champions League which was really special. Growing up, you watch Champions League and see those men play. So it was pretty surreal for me to be part of getting our club there. Secondly, we won the league last year in England without losing a game, so that was super special as well. So, I think those are kind of equal even though one ended in a trophy and one ended in a second place finish that allowed us to get into Champions League.
HK: What would you say are the differences between playing in England and playing in the NWSL?
DC: I think that the league in the U.S. is a lot more competitive than it is in England. I think from top to bottom any team can beat anyone which wasn’t particularly the case in England. So, I feel the league is stronger here. At Manchester City, I was very fortunate to be somewhere that had so many resources. With an environment with those coaches and those players, it was really easy to become a better player there as well.
HK: Bringing it back to Sky Blue and where you are now…what’s it like to play at Sky Blue and represent your home state?
DC: It’s rather funny because I grew up watching Sky Blue play. I went to every single possible game that I could go to since the WPS’ inception in 2009. So, I felt really fortunate that NJ had a club. Being a young girl with a league in which there are only 10 teams, I was lucky enough to grow up in an area where I could look up to a team like this. So now playing for that team is surreal honestly. I think it’s every little girl’s dream to play for the team that they grew up looking up to. Coming back home to NJ after being abroad also makes it particularly special.
HK: How did you get into soccer in the first place?
DC: It’s a pretty funny story. My brother who’s a year younger than me played with my dad just in our yard and started at a really young age. I would play with them outside, but my dad, coming from France in ’92, didn’t really know that girls played soccer and it wasn’t that big in France yet. So, he literally got me into every sport, besides soccer. It wasn’t until my brother’s first big tournament when he was 6 or 7, that my dad saw all these little girls playing and saw how big girls soccer was in our area. So, he signed me up for a team right after.
HK: Why have you decided to continue to play soccer as a career?
DC: I really love to play the game. I have so much fun playing. That’s kind of kept me playing. I can’t imagine not having it in my life every day.
HK: What are you up to in your free time?
DC: In Manchester, I was doing my Masters [in Biomedical Science], so I was having to study a lot for my Masters, but I really like to do yoga and hike in my free time. And I’m an avid reader. Just learning in different ways.
HK: Very cool! And I know that there’s been talk about you taking a path towards medical school in the future. What’s your plan with that part of your life?
DC: I am obviously super excited. I was fortunate in my life to find two passions: soccer and medicine. Right now, I am really enjoying the soccer part and trying not to think about when I will have to transition away from that. But, I know that when I have to, I will be very excited about that new chapter too.
HK: And last question – you’re big on social media, so if you had to pick only three accounts or people to follow, who would they be? Who are your three “must-follows?”
DC: I am going to go with…. Michelle Obama, Lindsey Vonn, and, I’ve got to go with a footballer don’t I? I’m going to say that my third is Paul Pogba!
Daphne Corboz and Sky Blue FC travel to North Carolina for their next match on Saturday against the first place North Carolina Courage, set for 3:30pm ET. The NJ side will look to bounce back from two consecutive losses.
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