Cudjoe, American inspirations and Ghanaian ambitions


August 15, 2021

  • Jennifer Cudjoe makes her name in NWSL with Gotham FC

  • Fan of Alex Morgan in her childhood, she plays with Carli Lloyd

  • The Ghanaian opens up on

Jennifer Cudjoe has had an exciting professional and personal experience in the United States, where she is causing a sensation in NWSL. « I learned a lot in college and in football, but I also took in life lessons, » said the Ghanaian to « The Americans didn’t become the best players in the world just because of their talent. They have an iron mindset and a hectic pace of work for themselves. It’s all about state of mind and commitment. »

Cudjoe could not have had a more perfect example in the matter than her Gotham FC teammate Carli Lloyd, the epitome of the fierce determination and will that brought the United States to the top of women’s football.

The 39-year-old athlete, who set himself a few more records at Tokyo 2020, spoke of the need to condition his body and mind so that he can surpass himself and put in grueling efforts day after day to turn weaknesses into strengths. The results of such pugnacity speak for themselves and earn Lloyd an attentive audience as she speaks.

“Working alongside Carli has been fantastic,” comments Cudjoe. « From my first training session with her, I felt both stressed and impatient. I was committed to giving 100%, because Carli Lloyd always gives her all. »

Angela Salem # 36 of Portland Thorns FC dribbles as Carli Lloyd # 10 and Jennifer Cudjoe # 6 of NJ / NY Gotham FC defend during the first half at Red Bull Arena on May 30, 2021 in Harrison, New Jersey.  (Photo by Sarah Stier / Getty Images)

Prior to Lloyd, Cudjoe followed in the footsteps of her older sister, Elizabeth, who represented Ghana in FIFA youth tournaments and then moved to the United States to further her career. Jennifer was also inspired by a tenor in men’s football and Lloyd’s teammate in selection.

« I was a fan of Alex Morgan in my childhood », confirms the middle of Black queens. “I was in awe of her strength of character which drove her to fight for success, even when others didn’t believe in her talent and potential. She held on and she came to the top. do I want to do too. « 

« It was Kaka who was my first model, » she continues. « My friends even nicknamed me Kaka because of my style of play. But I also wanted to find a benchmark in women’s football, and I saw Alex Morgan play a game in the snow when she was young. She ran everywhere, she tackled, she wasted herself without counting the cost.

I had never seen a forward play like this. And I admired her even more when I heard her describe her reaction to the coaches’ doubts about her abilities. « 

Cudjoe is on track to take on the role of role model as well. Her rise from humble college and amateur teams to the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) is a testament to her patience and persistence.

She achieved one of her ambitions when a tryout opened the doors to Gotham FC, then known as Sky Blue. Now she sets out in pursuit of another dream.

« My goal is to win the American championship and earn my place among the best midfielders in the world, » she says. But I would also like to be an example for children and show them what it is possible to achieve through hard work.  »

After having shone in the hope category, Cudjoe wants to help the senior selection of his country to reconnect with the most prestigious of world competitions.

Absent from the last three FIFA Women’s World Cups, the Black queens were left behind by selections of the caliber of Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, South Africa and Zambia. They will therefore have a lot to do to recover the lost ground.

“We have lived through a difficult period,” admits Cudjoe. « Ghana have been in the finals for years and it’s hard to watch them play out without us. »

« We will return to the World Cup one day or another, but it all depends on how much work the federation and other stakeholders are prepared to do to that end. While some changes over the past three years are encouraging, there are still improvements to be made.  »

MONCTON, NB - AUGUST 12: Jennifer Cudjoe # 13 of Ghana celebrates her team's second goal during the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup Canada 2014 group A match between Ghana and Finland at Moncton Stadium on August 12, 2014 in Moncton, Canada.  (Photo by Alex Grimm - FIFA / FIFA via Getty Images)

Ghana’s return to the world stage is not facilitated by the qualifying draw which placed the Black queens against Nigeria, the great rival with which they have reigned on the continent in the past. « I didn’t think it was possible, » Cudjoe wonders. « Whatever has happened recently, Ghana are still among the elite, and the preliminary competition is not expected to pit two of Africa’s best teams against each other. »

Faced with Super Falcons in the position of favorites, the Ghanaian women will have to display an exemplary mentality. Fortunately for them, they have in their ranks a player who knows that anything can happen if you put the necessary hard work into it.

Jennifer Cudjoe in action for Gotham FC.


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