Naomi Girma is bursting with pride as she takes part in her first Women’s World Cup with the USA – but she also feels a great responsibility.
Writing for Goal Click, the San Diego Wave defender has detailed the people far beyond the tournament in Australia and New Zealand who she will, in a way, be representing.
“I am playing for my family and my community back home who have sacrificed a lot for me to be in this position,” Girma explains. I am very grateful for all that they have done for me. I also play for young African-American and Ethiopian girls who can see themselves in me and be inspired by where I am.”
Girma, who has already won 16 senior caps since making her USWNT debut last year, also gave up a lot herself in pursuit of her career as a professional footballer – not that she sees it that way.
“My journey started at the grassroots level in San Jose and I worked my way through the American soccer system,” she continues. “I missed a lot of school and a lot of time with family and friends while traveling for soccer, but I do not look at it as a sacrifice. I have played in a few Youth World Cups, seen many places around the world, and I have felt like I have had everyone’s support. That has always made the journey more enjoyable and rewarding for me.“
Women's World Cup 2023 fixtures: Full schedule, dates and how to watch each game
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Tom Hancock started freelancing for FourFourTwo in April 2019 and has also written for The Analyst and When Saturday Comes, among others. He supports Wycombe Wanderers and has a soft spot for Wealdstone. A self-confessed statto, he has been known to watch football with a spreadsheet (or several) open...