Thorns' Nadia Nadim shares unique journey from Afghanistan to Po - KPTV - FOX 12

Thorns' Nadia Nadim shares unique journey from Afghanistan to Portland

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PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -

While seven of their national team players are gone on Olympic team duties, the Portland Thorns still have many talented players from all over the world.

The 28-year-old midfielder Nadia Nadim is safe at home after fleeing her home country under the worst of family tragedy in war-torn Afghanistan. 

"I never, ever thought my life was going to be like this," Nadim said. 

In her first season with the Thorns, Nadim is over the moon to play in front of the Riveters and all of the scarf-waving, song-chanting supporters in Soccer City USA. 

"I love when the national anthem is playing because everyone is with the scarves and I always kind of look up and go, 'This is unbelievable.'"

Portland is far removed from both Nadim's original home and her adopted home. 

"I don't even believe that I am here so I feel real blessed," she said. 

Nadim's father was an army general in Afghanistan.

"He loved his country and would never leave it," said Nadim. "When the Taliban gained power everything kind of changed." 

She added, "The last memories I have of that time are not pleasant ones. Everything was so chaotic and we were in danger."

Nadim's father was murdered by the Taliban when she was 12.

"They felt he was a threat and got him killed," she said. 

After the murder, Nadim's mother took her five daughters to a safe haven at a refugee camp in Denmark.

"My mom is a very smart and strong woman and she wanted us to have a better future," said Nadim. "Basically, flew to Italy with fake passports. From there we got transported to Denmark." 

She is beloved in the Rose City as she is back in her second home country as a Danish National Team player.

"Denmark gave me the opportunity to have a life but I certainly did take it," said Nadim. 

Nadim is also studying to join the medical field.

"It takes six years to become a doctor in Denmark," she said. "I have done four and a half so I have three semesters left." 

Nadim added, "I knew that I wanted to do something for people around me. I wanted to do a difference, not only on the field but also outside of it and becoming a doctor is the best way to help people." 

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