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M.A. Vignola is in her ‘flow state’

A breakout 2023 NWSL campaign earned her a USWNT call. The left-footed fullback come a long way from Iceland.

Sam Greene/The Enquirer-USA TODAY NETWORK

M.A. Vignola is in her ‘flow state’

Angel City FC fans won’t forget Oct. 15, 2023. A 5-1 victory over perennial power Portland Thorns FC completed a drastic in-season turnaround and saw Angel City clinch a playoff berth on the final day of the National Women’s Soccer League’s regular season.

M.A. Vignola scored the first goal of the day, a left-footed blast at the near post that sent a sellout crowd of 22,000 fans into pandemonium. The fact that Vignola was on the field at all for Angel City was remarkable, never mind that she played such an important role in the team’s storybook season.

Two years ago, Vignola was playing in front of a few hundred fans in Iceland, a place she landed after deciding to forego the 2020 NWSL Draft after completing her college eligibility at Tennessee.

“I think I needed to figure out a lot about myself and I needed to figure out a lot about just loving the game again,” Vignola told The Equalizer this week. “And I’m like, NWSL is the big leagues. You know, it’s not like something that you can just walk right into. You’ve got to be mentally ready. You’ve got to know yourself. You’ve got to know that you’re ready for this.”

Her agent called that winter to tell her there was an opportunity in Iceland. “I didn’t even know there was soccer over there,” she says now about her reaction.

Three years later, following her breakout NWSL campaign in Los Angeles, Vignola made her debut for the United States women’s national team — a different definition of making it to the big leagues. She was moved to tears on multiple occasions after her first U.S. match in September.

Her place with the national team is still a story in progress, but her journey to Iceland, Los Angeles, and back to her hometown in Cincinnati, Ohio, for her international debut, marks an incredible, unlikely journey.

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