Miranda Nild - Thailand
I am Miranda Nild, also known as Suchawadee Nildhamrong. I currently play for the Thailand WNT and have played with them for two years. I just graduated from University of California, Berkeley and played soccer/futbol for them for the past 4 years.
What has been your football journey up until now?
My journey began with me playing football for the local club team of my hometown. After a few years of fun, I moved clubs to get a more competitive experience elsewhere, before I got recruited for college.
How have you prepared for the Women’s World Cup?
I have prepared for the World Cup in many different ways. In August of last year I was playing with my college team for my final season. As that ended I had to still finish school - therefore I was very limited in what I could do for training. I decided to train with a youth boys team and do weight workouts on my own, while casually hopping back into college practices when I felt like I needed extra touches. It was a difficult process but I did this until I could make it to the Thai camp after I graduated. I was writing my thesis while I trained for the World Cup - it was about how the definition of sex work has changed and how technological advances have affected this definition!
What did you try to show with the photos? Was there any wider meaning with any of the photos?
Some photos were taken at University of California, Berkeley. It was where I trained while preparing for the World Cup because I was still in school and didn’t have a professional team to train with. There is a picture of my teammates staying after practice getting some extra runs in after our team workout. I was looking to capture the quote “Today, I will do what others won’t so that tomorrow I can do what others can’t.” It was to focus on the mentality of putting in extra work to become the player you want to be. It shows my favourite practice field in the morning, which is my favourite time to practice on it. The view from that field is amazing and the trees in the background really show a Northern California vibe that I hold dear to my heart.
Another photo is from Thailand of my teammate, Rattikan Thongsombut. This was during my time with the Thai national team training for the World Cup.
Our keeper Nattaruja Muthtanawech was fighting for the third goalkeeper spot for the World Cup. While at a club game, she came out to grab the ball and was swiped by the other team - by a girl not in the national team program. She instantly knew she tore her ACL, and was cut right before the other keeper came into camp. So she’s rehabbing next to everyone’s shoes because she’s out of practice…
This is what the team does before every practice. In Thai it is called “ling”, which translates to “monkey” in English, which then can be translated into a phrase that we call “monkey in the middle”. It is the one touch version and the Thais have certain rules along with monkey. 1. You must count the passes that are passed to you. If you don’t count or count incorrectly you become the monkey 2. If you mess up on 1, or any variable of 5, you must do a somersault. If you hit another variable of 5 that’s another somersault, so if the passes get to 15 you must do 3 somersaults. 3. If you get nutmegged you must lower one sock, and if you get nutmegged again you lower both socks.
Ainon Phancha, also known as Tho or Tho tho. She’s a 27 year old holding midfielder and right back. She comes early to training everyday, and that day she found the perfect spot to hang out before training. She watches her teammates come strolling in while hiding under the shade on an extremely hot day.
Sukanya Charoenying, also known as Chow, is our goalkeeper who is stretching before one of our sessions in Bangkok. She’s a 32-year-old keeper who almost retired before we qualified for the World Cup, but decided to stick it out for another year on the chance that we might make it to a World Cup. She’s definitely grateful she did.
The U19 youth national team was scrimmaging next to us before we had our final practice and the roster was released on the 25 women are who are traveling. It was a cool moment to see the youth national team members working hard, bettering themselves in a scrimmage trying to one day make it to a World Cup squad. All while the full team begins to train next door trying to continue to build a better platform for the youth team to come in behind us.
What are the biggest changes happening at the moment in women's football?
I think with this World Cup women’s football is on the rise for greatness. I think after this World Cup will people realise how amazing these women and athletes are at the highest level. I believe that women and men across the world should support all young girls who want to be like the women in the World Cup because they are incredible mentors and people to look up to.
What does football mean to you? Do you have a message for the next generation of young female footballers
Football means a lot to me, it’s essentially what made me who I am. My character, confidence, pride, passion has all stemmed from football. Football has taught me amazing things in life. How to work hard, face adversity, solve problems in a calm collected way, be professional and show empathy, include others. I think the lessons learned from women’s football are critical to life and being part of a team in this sport is such an amazing experience that every young girl should get the privilege to experience.
What are the opportunities for female footballers in Thailand?
The biggest opportunity for female footballers in Thailand is to represent their country. I believe that this is the biggest platform for us women and that it means the world to them that they are about to wear their country’s emblem. Thailand unfortunately does not have a bunch of opportunities to play professionally but hopefully that will change soon.
What is the future for Thai women's football?
I expect to see the rise in women’s football in the next couple of years. The youth teams in Thailand are starting to rise and gain the confidence they need to succeed in football. I think if we can get these girls to play in elite tournaments and levels we can get them to excel faster.
What do you expect to change after the 2019 WWC?
I’m hoping after this World Cup a lot will change in Thailand. I think after our team does well, we will help inspire a new cohort of young women who want to play soccer, and know that it is possible to play because they have seen people from their own country go to a World Cup.
What does your family think of your job as a soccer player?
My family understands my dreams to play professional soccer but completely expect me to get a “real” job afterwards. Even though I’m not there yet, the idea that I might have to find a “real” job is daunting on my soccer career because if I don’t make the most of time I’ve set aside for soccer then it could be a waste.
What’s one thing you always do before a game?
Before almost every game, as I’m walking towards the edge of the center circle, I jump with my knees to my chest two to three times to mentally check myself. Doing that jump helps me focus on the movement of my body, showing myself a glimpse of what I can do, yet preparing my body for action like agility on the field.