A dream draw for Thailand’s California girl 

  • Suchawadee Nildhamrong will be representing Thailand at France 2019
  • Draw pitted the striker against USA, the country of her birth
  • The striker discusses cultural challenges and career ambitions

Suchawadee Nildhamrong was in the midst of studying for her final university exams when the FIFA Women’s World Cup Draw took place. “I was already pretty stressed out,” the Thailand striker reflected. What happened next did nothing to ease her nerves.

Drawing USA would have been daunting enough in any circumstances, and to any player. The Americans are the reigning champions, the most successful team in Women’s World Cup history and are heading into this latest edition on a mammoth unbeaten streak.

But for Nildhamrong, the pairing held added significance. The 21-year-old was, after all, following the draw from California, the US state in which she was born and has lived her entire life. It was therefore understandable that the Thailand star – who goes by the name of Miranda Nild in the States – experienced a “rush of emotions” in the event’s aftermath.

“It was definitely a little daunting at first,” she recalled. “But after my mind settled a little more, I realised what a huge opportunity this is. I get to play against the women I have looked up to since I was a little girl, and the national team that helped me really fall in love with soccer and realise that this is what I wanted to do.

“We’ll be facing the toughest team in the world and it is going to be a huge challenge. But I’m excited for it and really thankful to be in this position, playing against my idols. Because if you’d told me a couple years ago I’d have the chance to play in the World Cup, I’d have said you were crazy.”