‘It feels like I’m still dreaming’: Cudjoe’s long road from Ghana to NWSL

Jennifer Cudjoe cried in the stands while watching the 2019 National Women’s Soccer League Championship game.

Photo Courtesy Sky Blue FC

Her friend, who surprised her with tickets to the match, asked about the tears.

“Watching it live, it was just a different feeling,” Cudjoe recalled. “I felt like this is where I belong. This is where I wanna be for so long and watching them play the way they played, witnessing that, I was like no, this is where I wanna be.”

Eight months later, the 26-year-old midfielder is on a short-term contract with Sky Blue FC and taking part in the 2020 NWSL Challenge Cup in Utah.

Sometimes she can’t find the words to describe her life, but the smile remains on her face.

“Every day I wake up and it feels like I’m still dreaming,” she said from her hotel room in Utah, where NWSL players are isolated in an athlete village. “No matter how [much] people would say ‘you’re a good player, you’re a great player,’ you always wanted that validation for yourself, feeling like I actually did it.”

Cudjoe’s journey didn’t start in 2019 or when she arrived in the United States in 2013. This is a moment 23 years in the making.

The Equalizer