Hailai Arghandiwal is a member of the Afghanistan Women’s National team and a new student-athlete at Soccer Management Institute. This first generation Afghan- American woman was born to former refugee parents who gave her the possibility to graduate from Santa Clara University. With a major in marketing and entrepreneurship, and after playing four years for the women’s soccer program, Hailai is now ready for a new challenge in Italy at Soccer Management Institute.
“From a very young age, I knew that I wanted to play professional soccer in Europe and all the steps that I have taken thus far have gotten me closer to this goal. Joining SMI was the best next step for me in my athletic and academic career. I knew that SMI would provide me with not only the opportunity to play, but the tools and resources to excel at the highest level.”
However, the Italian professional soccer league is going to be very different compared to college soccer and our student-athletes need to adapt quickly if they want to express their talent at its best. Hailai seems ready and very confident about her potential:” I grew up watching Serie A with my father and brother every weekend. Italian soccer was a big part of my childhood so my play has always been inspired by European soccer. I know that I will adapt seamlessly within the Italian soccer league.”
Soccer Management Institute is not only about giving to the student-athletes the opportunity to make it pro. In fact, the academic part of the program is just as much important as the soccer one thanks to a valuable master’s degree in sports management & soccer coaching and a professional faculty staff. “It is truly incredible to have the opportunity to further my education through this program in Italy. To have this on a resume, to show that I received a master’s in sports management and soccer coaching from prestigious Italian coaches and professors is everything. Beyond academics, I will be expanding my knowledge of the game and my skills. I am more than thrilled to continue to better my game and to be challenged at the highest level.”
Moving to Italy from the US would be a big step for everyone: dealing with a new culture, a new language, new costumes and leaving family and friends behind is not easy. However, our student-athletes love this kind of challenge and Hailai is very motivated to realize her dreams in such a lovely country:” Many people who I’ve told about my plan to move to Italy ask what my biggest fear is about this big move. I tell them that I am not fearful about moving, being alone, the new language, or the new culture. I am actually inspired by it all. My only fear is actually loving Italy so much that I don’t want to come back to the US.”
SMI Press Office