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This Refugee-Turned-Soccer Star And Future Doctor Is The Role Model We All Need.

When Nadia Nadim was just 10 years old, her father, a general in the Afghan army, was executed by the Taliban.

Terrified and unable to earn money, her mother sold their possessions, packed up Nadia and her four sisters, and fled the country. She then paid a smuggler to get them to the United Kingdom.

When the family completed their dangerous trip, they were shocked to find that they hadn’t landed in Great Britain as they’d planned; instead, they were at a refugee camp in Denmark. It was there that Nadia was finally able to relax.

“I came to a refugee camp where there was access to sports … and I felt like I could be a child again,” she said.

In addition to learning French, Nadia started learning the “easiest language of all,” also known as soccer. At the time, she didn’t even know there were female professional soccer players. All she knew was she had fallen in love with the game – and she was great at it.

“I definitely have passion in my genes,” she said. “My dad was really competitive, being a general, and he played sports himself. My mum was really competitive too.”

Nadia worked hard in the refugee camp to become the best player she could be, and it certainly paid off! She went on to become a professional athlete and has scored about 200 goals in her career to date. She has been a star player for the Portland Thorns, Manchester City, and Paris Saint-Germain, whom she helped win the championship for the first time in the league’s history.

Another driving force behind her hard work is the memory of living in poverty in the refugee camp.

“What I’ve been through as a kid forged me into this person I am,” she said. “I really enjoy winning and I want to succeed no matter what because I don’t want to go back to where I was as a kid being poor.”

With her financial goals in mind, Nadia is already thinking ahead to when her days as a football striker are over. When she’s not training or competing, she’s taking medical classes to become a surgeon who specializes in reconstructive surgery. As if that wasn’t enough, she also speaks 11 languages fluently!

Nadia recently made Forbes’ list of “Most Powerful Women in International Sports.” She’s using her newfound fame to champion a multitude of charities and perform ambassadorial duties for the United Nations. She’s also working with PSG and KLABU, charities that build sports clubs in refugee camps around the world. She hopes to reach more than 10,000 impoverished refugee children to give them the gift of sports!

“I’m probably going to be the last person who can make an impact on some person’s life – that interests me tremendously,” she said. “Being able to do that for other people will be amazing.”

Raise your hand if you have a new hero! Nadia’s tenacity, intelligence, and athleticism helped lift her out of poverty and have given her the ability to help others do the same. We’re in awe!

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