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Chioma Ubogagu Relishes Goal in England Debut

November 9, 2018 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) - Orlando Pride News Release

Two weeks ago, Chioma Ubogagu had never been called into the England national team.

Yesterday, she scored her first goal in her England debut.

It was a simple strike -- a loose ball in the box she slotted into the bottom corner -- but it was with her off foot and marked a dream start to her international career.

The journey to her debut was a long one. Ubogagu, who was born in London but moved to Texas when she was young, was first called up to U.S. youth national teams before earning her first senior call-up in October 2017 but didn't appear in either friendly.

It was in February that she first spoke with England manager Phil Neville and he'd been tracking her progress ever since. Almost a year to the day from her U.S. call, Ubogagu was called up to England.

And in the 26th minute against Austria on Thursday, Ubogagu found herself in the box with the ball at her feet.

"That just speaks volumes to the coaching staff," Ubogagu said. "They put me in a position to finish the ball, and even with the finishing [at training] this week, it was 'keep everything on-frame, keep everything low,' and that's literally how it happened."

She buried the eventual game-winner before being swarmed by her new teammates.

"They were just buzzing for me," Ubogagu said of their reaction after she scored. "It was really nice that they were genuinely excited for me and I could feel it. It was pretty amazing."

"When I went into the [U.S.] senior camp last year, the environment wasn't for me. I guess that's the best way to put it," Ubogagu admitted. "Then coming into this environment, it just felt right immediately. Some things in football, it's just like an instinct, and it felt like this was the place I'm supposed to be."

Ubogagu could make her second appearance when England hosts Sweden on Sunday.

Regardless of that, though, Ubogagu hopes this is just the beginning of her Lionesses career. A goal in her debut is a great way to build up towards next year's World Cup in France.

"I'm just hoping I can keep working hard to hopefully keep earning call-ups to represent England at a World Cup, Euros and Olympics.

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