Mercy Akide Udoh was the first African woman to play professional football in the world.

Specifically, Akide achieved this milestone when she became the first African woman to play in the US now-defunct Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) league, which was recognized as the world’s first women’s football league.

Akide’s presence in the sport symbolized Nigeria’s accomplishments, with FIFA acknowledging her as “The most renowned figure in African women’s football and one of the most formidable attacking players of the previous decade.”

Through her contributions, Akide significantly increased the visibility of African women in global football.

Her journey began in Port Harcourt in 1975, where she honed her skills by playing with boys in her neighbourhood.

Subsequently, she progressed to join a local team and later relocated to Lagos to play for Jegede Babes.

After displaying outstanding performances during the 1999 World Cup in the United States, Akide received a four-year scholarship to Milligan College in Tennessee.

During her time at Milligan, Akide demonstrated exceptional performance.

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Her achievement of scoring 42 goals in 1999 was instrumental in Milligan achieving its most successful season in the history of the football program.

Akide also holds three Milligan’s football records of the most goals scored in a single game (7) and single season (42) and most points in a single season (99).

Subsequently, she transitioned to playing for the Hampton Roads Piranhas of the W-League and later for the San Diego Spirit of the Women’s United Soccer Association in California.

It was during her time at San Diego Spirit that she became the first recipient of the CAF Best Female Player of the Year Award in 2001.

In 2003, Akide returned to Hampton Roads, where she dedicated three seasons of her career.

In her first season back with the Piranhas, Akide achieved the league’s Most Valuable Player Award as a result of scoring the winning goal in the National Championship game.

Following her collegiate career, Akide represented Nigeria in three FIFA Women’s World Cups (Sweden 1995, USA 1999, and 2003) as well as the Olympic Games in Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004) respectively.

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Upon retiring, Akide ventured into coaching and took on the role of youth development director for several U-16 and U-13 teams in the United States.

She received the FIFA World All-Star recognition in both 1999 and 2004. While in 2005, FIFA appointed her as an Ambassador for Women’s Football.

Notably, Akide was inducted into the United Soccer Leagues’ Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 2019, Akide-Udoh was recognized as the Regent University athletic department’s Coach of the Year in the United States.

Her expertise in the sport was further acknowledged in 2021 when she was appointed to the football advisory panel of the International Football Association Board, the entity responsible for determining the laws of the game.

Akide, who was featured on the cover of the official program of the 1999 Women’s World Cup, got married to football journalist, Colin Udoh in 2004.

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Presently, Akide and her husband live in Vírginia Beach, alongside their two children.

Akide-Udoh is currently the Assistant Teams Director of Steel United, Virgínia, a youth football team based in the United States….S££ MOR£ 

4 Famous Father And Son Who Played For Same Club

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