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From club trialist to the World Cup: Michelle Alozie’s ‘Hail Mary’ is about to pay off

The Yale grad was still fighting for a contract with the Houston Dash when Nigeria’s coach showed up at practice. Two days later, Alozie made her international debut.

The pass deflected off an Orlando Pride player and into the path of Michelle Alozie as she sprinted up the pitch and into the penalty area. The Houston Dash forward quickly cut in on her left foot to dodge the only defender who could reach her before she sent a left-footed shot into the back of the net.

It was Alozie’s first goal of the National Women’s Soccer League season, and the joy on her face was palpable as she and teammate Diana Ordóñez embraced. 

Being in this spot — scoring goals and starting in the NWSL and likely on her way to the World Cup to represent Nigeria — was never a given for Alozie. Her career nearly ended after college, but a series of bets on herself led to an impromptu opportunity to represent Nigeria despite not even having a full-time club contract. A club tryout essentially turned into an international tryout, a path forged through continuous self-advocacy and self-belief. 

“I just knew that, regardless of where I go, as long as I believe in myself, as long as I put in the work to differentiate myself in whatever situation or environment that I’m in, then things will happen,” Alozie told The Equalizer. “Just believe in yourself and just know that your path is your path and it’s fine for it to look different than other people’s.”

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