Two members of team Thailand faced off against their home country on Wednesday in the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Miranda Nild and Tiffany Sornpao are both former D-1 soccer players from the good ol’ U.S. of A. Nild played at University of California, Berkeley, and landed seven goals in her junior season before graduating in 2018, California Golden Blogs reported. Sornpao completed her sophomore year at Kennesaw State University in Georgia in 2018, according to KSU.
“Five months ago I was just hyped to be able to go to France and watch a WWC game, five months later I make the 23 roster to be in the WWC,” she wrote.
Coaches and teammates praised her success, one teammate writing on Twitter that Sornpao is the embodiment of the phrase, “hard work pays off.”
It was an emotional experience for Nild, as well, when she realized she’d be playing the United States, her home country, in the opening game, Mycujoo.com reported.
“I was watching the draw live and it was such a wave of emotion when I realized that Thailand would be playing our first match against the USA, and when I saw those cards being placed side-by-side I couldn’t believe it,” she said, according to the website.
The Americans have been praised for the confidence, something Nild says she hopes infects the Thai team, The New York Times reported.
“They are always really afraid to hurt our feelings,” Nild said, according to the newspaper. “In Thailand they shy away from what you are not doing well and focus on other things, which I think is probably our biggest loss.”
Still, Sornpao says the experience of playing on the international stage is a step in the right direction.
“What it means to have the ability to train and play against the best women footballers in the world is something I can’t describe,” Sornpao said, according to the Gwinnett Daily Post. “It is literally a dream that I have yet to wake from. However, hopefully this means I get the opportunity to get my name recognized and potentially help shape my future in trying to play professionally.”
Nild echoed Sornpao’s aspirations, calling the World Cup a “job interview” of sorts, a “chance for me to show what I can do at this kind of level,” she said, according to Mycujoo.com.
Team Thailand fell to the United States 13-0.