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‘I’m expecting to overcome challenges’: Racheal Kundananji on her world-record move to Bay FC

The 23-year-old Zambian forward arrives in the NWSL for a €735,000 transfer fee, smashing the world record. She spoke with EQZ about her journey

Racheal Kundananji for Zambia
(Daniela Porcelli / SPP)

As a young girl in Zambia, Racheal Kundananji would daydream with her friends and family about life in the United States. Long before her love for soccer developed through informal play with neighborhood kids, Kundananji knew that one day she wanted to live in the U.S. — especially California.

On Tuesday, Kundananji was announced as the newest player of Bay FC, the San Jose, California-based expansion team for the 2024 National Women’s Soccer League season. Her transfer from Spanish side Madrid CFF smashed a world record set a few weeks ago: Bay FC paid a transfer fee of €735,000 with an additional $75,000 in performance-based add-ons.

“Every place that I’ve been to, I always take something from there; I learn something from there,” Kundananji told The Equalizer from her apartment in Madrid, which she was still packing up ahead of the move. “Good or bad, to me it’s a good experience because you have to experience something to know something. I’m looking [forward] to having a great time in the U.S., have a great time with the team. Now, Bay FC is my new family.”

Kundananji will be among the highest-paid players in the NWSL. She signed a four-year deal with an option for a fifth year that will pay over $2 million — upward of $2.5 million in total valuation, accounting for cap-hit items like paid housing, multiple sources confirmed.

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