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Where EAST meets the Northwest

SOCCER SUCCESS. Nadia Nadim, who played for the Portland Thorns during the 2016 and 2017 National Women’s Soccer League seasons, returned to Portland last month with her new club, Manchester City, for a friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland. (AR Photo/Jody Lim)

From The Asian Reporter, V28, #15 (August 6, 2018), page 11.

Nadia Nadim plays match in Portland before heading to ICC tournament

By Jody Lim

The Asian Reporter

Nadia Nadim, who played for the Portland Thorns during the 2016 and 2017 National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) seasons, returned to Portland last month for a friendly match against Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) with her new club, Manchester City. The two teams are among the top clubs in women’s soccer.

Following the friendly match, both squads travelled to Florida to participate in the inaugural International Champions Cup (ICC) women’s tournament. This year was the first time the ICC tournament included a women’s competition. It was also the first tournament to feature an NWSL team competing against clubs from Europe.

In the match, which was held at Merlo Field on the campus of the University of Portland, Nadim scored her team’s only goal for a 1-0 victory. Similar to her two seasons spent with the Thorns, the Portland crowd gave Nadim a warm welcome and cheered her on during the match.

Nadim’s journey to becoming a pro soccer player has been well documented.

Born in Kerat, Afghanistan, then raised in Kabul until she was age 12, Nadia and her family had a typical life in Kabul until the war started. Her mother, Hamida, was a school principal, and her father, Rabani, was a general in the Afghan military. Nadim and her sisters — Giti, Diana, Muskan, and Mujda — attended school, spent time together, and went about daily life.

In 2000, when Nadim’s father was executed by members of the Taliban, life quickly changed. The family fled to Pakistan, was smuggled away in a truck, and ended up in Randers, a small city in Denmark. From there, they were taken to an accommodation center for asylum seekers in Copenhagen.

At the accommodation center, Nadim’s new life began amid days filled with language lessons and pickup soccer games. Also during this time, her family found a home of their own. In the summer of 2008, Nadia acquired her Danish citizenship.

Eventually, Nadia committed to a local soccer club, where she began learning the game beyond the many hours she’d spent running around playing pickup ball. By 2005, she was playing professionally — first with B52 Aalborg then seven seasons with IK Skovbakken (2006-2012). She joined Fortuna Hjørring in 2012, helped the club win a league title in 2014, then made her way to the U.S. to play in the NWSL.

Nadim joined the Thorns in January 2016 in a trade with Sky Blue FC, the club she played for during the 2014 and 2015 NWSL seasons.

Following the game at Merlo Field, and before both squads took a late flight to the east coast, Nadim spoke about the support she received from the fans: "Amazing! I love playing in Portland. I love the fans."

The ICC women’s tournament took place July 26 and 29 at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami.

On July 26, PSG faced the North Carolina Courage of the NWSL, a club featuring Abby Erceg, Yuri Kawamura, and others. The Courage prevailed, 2-1. In the other match of the day, Olympique Lyonnais defeated Manchester City, 3-0.

The winners of the July 26 semifinal round faced off in the tournament final on July 29. The Courage scored the game’s only goal and managed to keep Lyon off the scoreboard to win the title. In the third-place match played earlier in the evening, Manchester City defeated PSG, 2-1.

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