Super Falcons striker Ify Onumonu will face her former club OL Reign in the final of the American NWSL Championship on Saturday, November 11, 2023, at Snapdragon Stadium in San Diego, California.
Onumonu, who joined NJ/NY Gotham FC in 2020, is aiming to become the first Nigerian to win the NWSL title.
The NWSL final will be a historic occasion for both teams, as neither of them has ever won the league title before. Gotham FC, formerly known as Sky Blue FC, finished sixth in the regular season and upset the defending champions Portland Thorns in the semifinals with a 1-0 win. OL Reign, formerly known as Seattle Reign, finished third in the regular season and edged past San Diego Wave FC in the semifinals with a 1-0 win.
The NWSL final will also mark the end of the careers of two US women’s national team legends, Megan Rapinoe and Ali Krieger.
Rapinoe, who plays for OL Reign, announced her retirement in July, after winning two World Cups, an Olympic gold medal, and the Ballon d’Or, while Krieger, who plays for Gotham FC, announced her retirement in March, after winning two World Cups and an Olympic bronze medal.
While Rapinoe and Krieger will be the focus of attention, Onumonu will also have a lot to play for in the final. The 29-year-old forward, who was born in California to Nigerian parents, has been a journeywoman in the NWSL, playing for four different teams since 2017. She started her career with Boston Breakers, where she spent a season, before moving to Portland Thorns, OL Reign, and finally Gotham FC.
Onumonu has been a peripheral figure in the Gotham FC side this season, playing 14 times, with four starts, and a total of 340 minutes. She has also failed to score a goal the whole season. However, she has been praised by her coach Freya Coombe for her work ethic and versatility.
“She’s a great player who can play in any position in the attack. She’s always ready to contribute and help the team,” Coombe said after Onumonu was named the NWSL player of the week in August 2021.
Just last month Ify Onumonu was celebrated after playing 100 games for Gotham FC.
She is also not new to finding the back of the net against her former side, scoring the only goal as Gotham FC defeated OL Reign by a lone goal in June 2021 and will hope to make an impact in the final and help her team lift the trophy.
She was also part of Super Falcons team that reached the Round of 16 at the 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand after defeating co-hosts Australia and playing goalless draws against Canada and Republic of Ireland in the group stage.