On June 9th, Racing Louisville FC announced the signing of their third international star. Nadia Nadim was set to return to the NWSL and reconnect with Coach Christy Holly after coming off a championship season with Paris Saint-Germain. Nadim, a veteran player, has had a storied career both on and off the pitch. Having been delayed by the visa process, Nadim is finally in Louisville and ready to get to work.
In her first meeting with the Louisville media, Nadim expressed her desired to join Racing for the challenge, “It’s a new team and you want to be a part of starting from scratch.” Coach Holly, thrilled to have his latest signing onsite, shared, “She is laying the foundations for a bright, sustainable future. It has a huge impact on the younger players.” Nadim was impressed with the infrastructure provided by the new expansion side. “I’ve played for some of the best organizations in Europe and the world. It matches up.”
Coach Holly stated, “Having her in the locker room is a pleasure. Players gravitate towards her. She garners respect not only for her life experiences but also for how her career has played out.” The instant connection between Nadia and her peers has been a two-way street in her short time in Louisville. “Everyone has been welcoming and positive.”
While Nadim’s arrival will be a huge boost for the club, the full impact will take time to be realized. The jet-lagged international star has only one practice under her belt with the ladies in lavender. Coach Holly shared that she would be available for selection for Sunday’s match against the Washington Spirit, but “we have to be careful about how we blend her into the club.” Kentucky is a much different place than France and some of the other areas she has played in the past and she has immediately felt it. Nadim said, “I didn’t know it was going to be this humid!”
With the Racing Louisville roster continuing to grow and the relationships on the pitch developing, Coach Holly will have more options than ever to bring his vision on the pitch to life. “We want to get Cece (Kizer) in a more natural position,” he said. “We can drop her deeper and it allows us to drop Sav (Savannah McCaskill) deeper. It allows us to get Yuki (Nagasato) inside the field where she can orchestrate our attack.” He also believes that Nadim’s arrival will help to bring some weight and pressure off of the 20-year-old, Ebony Salmon.
Regardless of the minutes Nadia Nadim receives during the next match, it was yet another milestone moment for Racing Louisville to have a player of her caliber enter the training facility. “Nadia just ups the stakes again”, Coach Holly declared. Racing, currently holding a record of 3-2-4, sits eight in the NWSL table with a string of potentially winnable games ahead of them. Expansion teams have traditionally missed out on playoff action in their first season, but there is still reason for hope for the Louisville team. FiveThirtyEight has them at a 33% chance to make the postseason and with their roster only getting stronger, that could increase. Having lost a grand total of zero players to the ongoing Olympics, things appear to be leaning in Racing’s favor.
New playground, same playaaa 🦖⚽️ pic.twitter.com/KnbPSMYP3j
— Nadia Nadim (@nadia_nadim) July 21, 2021