Thailand star Nild seals European deal

Šiauliai: Thailand women’s national team striker Miranda Nild has joined Lithuanian club Gintra Universitetas, in a move which is set to make her the first Thai player to appear in the prestigious UEFA Women’s Champions League.

The 22-year-old forward, also known as Suchawadee Nildhamrong, arrives at the club from her birthplace in California, where she has spent the past four years playing in the US college system for California Golden Bears

The defending Lithuanian champions, Gintra Universitetas are among 40 clubs vying for a place in the final 32 of Europe’s premier women’s club competition, with three qualifiers set to determine their fate.

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Long-time rulers of the Lithuanian scene with 15 successive domestic titles, the Šiauliai-based club will host opponents from Albania, Republic of Ireland and Malta in the week-long qualifying round, with Nild set to make history if she appears in the tournament.

Nild’s move is the latest chapter in a unique football story, with the US-raised striker, whose father is Thai, appearing for the Southeast Asian side for the first time in the AFC Women’s Asian Cup Qualifiers in April 2017.

Since then she has netted 12 international goals to become a key player for the Chaba Kaew, starring at the 2018 AFC Women’s Asian Cup Finals in Jordan and appearing in all three of their matches at the FIFA Women’s World Cup France 2019.

Nild is expected to hit the ground running in Lithuania, with her first appearance in her new colours likely to come in Friday’s friendly against Kazakh champions BIIK Kazygurt.

Gintra Universitetas have reached the UEFA Women’s Champions League knockout stage in the last two seasons. Their first match in this season’s qualifying campaign, against Malta’s Birkirkara, will be held on August 7.

Photos: FIFA via Getty Images

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