Orlando Pride 2018 NWSL College Draft pick Nádia Gomes‘ soccer career began in her home in Portugal as a young girl. Gomes would kick the ball around in the house with her sister and her mother — kitchen juggling, dribbling through rooms. It was the perfect practice pitch.
“There was a lamp or lightbulb broken every day,” Gomes told NWSL Media.
The BYU alum was selected in the third round by the Pride after scoring 23 goals and chipping in 23 assists in her college career. Ahead of the season, Gomes was named to the 2018 Algarve Cup roster for Portugal and recorded her first goal on March 7 in a 2-1 win over Australia.
Got my first cap today!! Just want to thank all my coaches for this opportunity, and everyone who supports and believes in me. It's a huge honor to play with this jearsey and team. pic.twitter.com/lvkFZ6aZbj
— Nadia Gomes (@Nadia_Gomes06) March 2, 2018
“One of my aunt’s would tell me, ‘Your mom loves soccer since she was little. It was her dream to play always, and you’re living her dream.'” Gomes’ mother moved them to Utah when she was 11-years-old.
Whether it was watching soccer games in the house, which Gomes describes as always a “crazy time” or breaking lamps left and right, Gomes credits her mother’s influence for living out her dream of playing professionally now. “She always told me to never give up and keep pursuing my dreams,” Gomes said.
“She always encouraged me and supported me every time I told her I wanted to play soccer. I know that if there was a soccer team in my city when I was growing she would have put me on it. She’s always been a hard worker.”
Gomes last saw her mother when she visited her in her new city of Orlando. Gomes is still waiting to make her professional debut, but knows that when she does get the chance to step on the field her mother will definitely be her biggest fan, but also toughest critic.
“She’s funny,” Gomes laughs. “If I don’t do good in a game, she’ll flat out tell me. She’s like, ‘You need to do this, this and this,’ and she’ll flat out tell me that I didn’t do a good job.” The 21-year-old said her mother’s biggest critique in her game is that she stands around too much.
“She’s always telling me, ‘Nadia you need to go, go!'” Perhaps this similar tone stems from the earlier days racing around their home in Portugal. Gomes, in the spirit of Mother’s Day and remembering how much fun she had as a young girl playing with her mom, has a special message.
“Shoutout to my amazing mom,” Gomes said. “She has always been an amazing role model and I love her so much. Happy Mother’s Day!”