Nadia Nadim, a heroic struggle worth emulating!
Nadia Nadim was born and raised in Afghanistan until her father who was an Afghan National Army general, was killed by the Taliban in 2000.
A few months later, her family escaped the country in the middle of the night when she was only 11 years. They got smuggled out in the back of a truck on a journey to Pakistan where they spent 2 months before flying to Italy.
It is from Italy, they were put in a van and ended up in a refugee camp in Denmark.
While at the refugee camp, she saw a group of Danish girls playing soccer. This was her first time seeing that and immediately fell in love with the game. She knew this was a career she needed.
Today, she has ended up playing through the Danish club system, rose to the national team in 2009, and has played for some of the top teams around the world, including Manchester City WFC, Paris Saint-Germain Féminine, Portland Thorns, and now Racing Louisville FC.
Nadim has scored more than 200 goals so far in her soccer career and has won club championships with the Thorns in 2017 and PSG in 2021.
Outside the football pitch, she was running a medical degree in reconstructive surgery which eventually in 2022, she became a qualified Doctor after she graduated from Aarhus University in Denmark.
She said in one of her interviews “I feel I play soccer or football for myself,” she said. “It’s my hobby. I enjoy it. But I wanted to do something more than that. I wanted to have an impact.”
Over the past decade, the process of balancing her professional athletic career for club and country with the medical school was grueling.
“I did ask myself the question: Why am I doing this? What’s the point? You have to remember why you started this journey, and you have to envision the goals you set yourself, the light at the end of the tunnel. And that’s what keeps me motivated.”
“I always want to be connected to football in a certain way because I think it’s a powerful game. I want to be in a position where you are going to have an impact on other people’s lives and help people because I know how it is to receive the help.”
“And I know how much it means when you’re in need, and someone does something for you”.
Nadim is fluent in 9 languages and was appointed a UNESCO Champion for girls and women’s education in 2019.
She plans to continue being a Doctor when she hangs her boot so she can save lives.