The Call Up

Nadia Nadim: Defying limitations from the soccer field to the operating room

Nadia Nadim wears many hats in her remarkable life – soccer star, role model, doctor and survivor, just to name a few.

The Afghanistan-born forward, who plays for Racing Louisville FC in the NWSL, escaped Taliban rule with her mother and sisters when she was younger and was a refugee in Europe, her storied soccer career kickstarted by happenstance when a Danish refugee camp she lived in was behind some soccer fields.

The 34-year-old, who has 99 caps for the Danish national team and competed for Sky Blue FC, the Portland Thorns, Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain in her career, advocates for female athletes everywhere, especially those who, like her, have had to flee Afghanistan when the Taliban took over again this summer.

Nadim is proud to say she is the face of everything the Taliban doesn’t want women to be, providing added fuel to accomplish even more in her life.

“I love the fact I’m doing everything they don’t want me to do,” she said in the latest episode of The Call Up. “On the other hand, it also shows the world that there’s nothing wrong with me doing this stuff. It doesn’t make me a bad person, it doesn’t make me a bad woman. I’m the same person I’ve always been. I have the same values. I love it, to be honest, that I’m not allowed to do this. It just makes you want to do a bit more.”

Nadim has also somehow found the time to get her degree and become a doctor, specializing in reconstructive surgery. Curious by nature, Nadim said she’s aided in a few surgeries.

“I love, love, love being in the operation room,” Nadim said. “It brings joy to me. It’s weird for me to say it, but I feel so alive when I’m there. I feel like I’m doing something that matters.”

For more on Nadim’s amazing story, check out The Call Up's full episode here.