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Michelle Alozie: Winning at Football & Science

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Michelle Alozie is a player who rose to prominence during the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup. At Nigeria’s game against England, she was unfairly fouled by English player Lauren James, an incident that thrust her into the spotlight. 

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What also impressed many people is the fact that she balances her football career with her career as a pediatric cancer researcher. Keep reading to find out more about Michelle Alozie.

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Michelle Alozie’s Early Life & Career 

Michelle Alozie: Winning at Football & Science
Michelle Alozie representing the Houston Dash. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Michelle Alozie was born in Apple Valley, California. Her parents are of Nigerian origin and come from Imo State. She studied at Granite Hills High School and later went to Yale University and studied Molecular Biology. 

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Medical Career

Speaking about her career choice, Michelle told FIFA.com that she never thought she’d pursue it.

“I never thought I’d get into medicine even though I’m interested in it. But I was good in biology so medicine seemed like the obvious choice. I love the fact I’m helping in finding a cure for cancer for kids. Childhood cancer isn’t something that’s researched much so I’m glad am able to impact children’s lives,” Michelle Alozie said. 

That said, the footballer clarifies that she’s not yet a doctor. Her teammates consult her on their medical issues, but she constantly reminds them that she can’t make any diagnosis. That said, she plans on pursuing medicine and earning the title of doctor.

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Playing Career

Michelle Alozie: Winning at Football & Science
Michelle Alozie playing for Houston Dash. Image Source: Instagram licensed under CC BY 2.0

Michelle is just as determined on the field as she is in academics. She’s always played soccer. She says it’s embedded in Nigeria’s culture.

While at Yale, she played for Yale Bulldogs. However, an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) saw her play for the Tennessee Volunteers. In total, she played 66 games and scored 22 goals in her collegiate career. 

At the end of her time in college, the forward cum defender registered for the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) draft but didn’t succeed. Instead, she joined Khazakstani side BIIK Kazygurt. She spent three months with the team and then returned to California due to COVID-19. 

In 2021, the Nigerian national team called up  Alozie and she landed a contract with NWSL side Houston Dash. She has been with the team before as its assistant Twila Kilgore recruited her. 

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Alozie’s performances were convincing enough to earn her a contract renewal. In December 2022, Alozie signed a two-year extension. So far, she’s played 29 matches and scored 4 goals.

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International Career

Michelle Alozie’s debut with the Nigerian national football team came in 2021 during an international friendly. Alozie’s previous interaction with former Nigerian coach Randy Waldrum helped her get the opportunity. 

She was part of the Super Falcon’s team that reached the last 16 at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Australia & New Zealand. Alozie was praised for her performances at right back. Her composed display against England and how she contained English forward Lauren James earned her international recognition.  

As if that wasn’t impressive already, how she reacted after James stamped her provided internet users with some of the most hilarious memes. Afterwards, Alozie called for Nigerian supporters to forgive the young English forward and move on.

Throughout the tournament, Michelle wore different colored boots, something that sparked an interest. She explained her inspiration came from Italian player Mario Balotelli

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Balancing Football and Medicine

It’s common for female athletes to have a job while playing. Being an athlete is already demanding, but Michelle seems to balance them well. How does she do it? 

“At first, it was difficult but we learned to juggle both from a young age so now it’s easy,” Michelle told FIFA.Com.  

Female footballers are also confronted with the prospect of choosing their job or football. However, Michelle desires to carry on with both but practice medicine after her football career is over.  

Michelle Alozie is an inspiration to young female athletes. She’s a good example that hard work and determination can take you far. Additionally, how she handled her controversy with Lauren James shows her maturity.

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