From kicking the ball around in Kitchener to scoring goals on the international stage, Shelina Zadorsky’s soccer career has made quite the bounce.

She’s been playing soccer on the nationally for over a decade and is now representing Canada in this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

Her family and former coaches say it hasn’t been an easy journey. They all saw something special in her from a young age, but a two-year gap in her career when she didn’t get called back to play for Canada shook her confidence.

“It hasn’t been a linear road to this but she’s stuck with it through grit and integrity,” explains Zadorsky’s mother, Mary.

Her passion for the game began in Kitchener when she was four. Her older sister was playing rep soccer and she wanted to follow suit.

“You can tell at an early age, it meant something to her,” explains Shayne Campbell, her former coach. “It was important to her and she wanted to improve all the time when she got on the field.”

She earned her first spot on a national team in 2008, playing for the under-17 team. Five years later she played for the senior team, all while playing varsity at the University of Michigan. She didn’t get called back for two years after that, and wasn’t drafted into the National Women’s Soccer League after graduating.

“She really worked hard to recommit, to get back to the basics, to really work hard on her game,” Campbell says.

Zadorsky has been playing consistently with the national team since 2016 while maintaining her pro career with the Orland Pride.

Her family says it’s still surreal to see her on the international stage.

Canada has won both of its last two games. The next game is on June 20 at noon, when they take on the Netherlands.