Linda Motlhalo says she was very nervous in the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), where she played for 77 minutes in the 1-1 draw against the Chicago Red Stars at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston on Sunday.
“It was my first professional game and I was very nervous before the match but after the warm-up I felt better and ready to get going. One thing I did not do was to put myself under pressure because I knew that for me to have a good game, I would have to come out of my shell, out of my comfort zone and do what was needed of me,” said Motlhalo.
“I am also grateful to my teammates who have been helpful from the first time I got here. They have been motivating me on and off the field. In terms of play, US play direct football with one or two touches on the ball, which is far different from what we play in South Africa where we have lots of skillful players – but I am adapting very well”.
The South African player reunited with Vera Pauw, former coach of the South African Senior Women’s National Team who is now the head coach of Houston Dash.
“It’s always a pleasure working under coach Vera, she brings out the best in a player because she understands players. I am very grateful for the opportunity she has given me,” added Motlhalo.