Former star player Mercy Akide Udoh: “I love to see women excel”
Fueled by her passion, Mercy draws on her own vast experience as an ex-pro to support her players.
Mercy Akide Udoh, a former Nigerian international, has represented her Super Falcons at three World Cups, and the Olympics. Since she put her boots away she’s on the sidelines to coach the next generation.
Mercy is the assistant director of Steel United and normally coaches the Virginia Beach team. The CCL Soccer Club team at Gothia Cup was selected by Mercy after trials and the team was assembled with the purpose of competing at the tournament. CCL has been sending teams to Gothia Cup for over 20 years and in 2016 their G17 team made it to the semifinals.
Mercy has been coaching since she stopped playing and she notes the lack of women on the sidelines.
– Making the transition from player to coach was really difficult, I’m not going to lie. There is not a lot of women coaching because when we’re done, we just want to have families. But because I have so much passion I want to stay in the game, I choose to give back to the young ladies, Mercy says.
Her favourite thing about coaching is being able to be around the young players who have a passion for the game, which includes her own daughter who plays on the team.
– I love to see women excel, it is not every woman that is in my position or the position to come to this big event, she says.
Mercy, having represented Nigeria at three World Cups and at the Olympics alongside her club career, has a lot of experience to share with her players.
– I tell them about what I do when I’m down, how to get out of my own head. I give them a lot of wisdom, Mercy says.
Now she’s looking forward to following the Super Falcons on their World Cup journey in Australia and New Zealand.
– It is very exciting! I’m looking forward to watching the game. I will try to watch it on my phone somewhere, even if I’m on the pitch I’m going to try, Mercy says.
Mercy knows what it means to play in big tournaments. She compares the experience of being at Gothia Cup to that of taking part in some of the biggest tournaments in the world.
– I played in the World Cup and at the Olympics, but this is amazing! The opening ceremony wowed me, the only place that I have seen that is in the Olympics, Mercy says.