Mercy Akide-Udoh has been named Regent University Athletic Department’s Coach of the Year.
The Nigerian, who has only just completed her first season as Head Coach of the university’s Women’s Soccer program, was a unanimous choice for the award, voted for by all the coaches in the Virginia Beach-based university.
“When we were voting for this award, everyone who sent in their vote was unanimous that it could only go to one person, Mercy,” Dr Samuel Botta, Athletics Director said whale announcing the award. “Mercy has been a blessing to our program and we are lucky to have her.”
In her first season coaching the program, Akide-Udoh took the team from zero wins in their first season, to five wins.
“This is such an unexpected honour for me,” said Akide-Udoh as she received her award. “I will like to thank everyone who voted and also thank my players who have made this such a an enjoyable time for me here.”
Akide’s two seasons of consistency with Jegede Babes, where she scored a total of 49 goals in two seasons, caught the attention of national coach Ismaila Mabo and she was called to camp in 1994. But another rush of goals, 17 in the league and 9 in the Challenge Cup earned her a recall. Her international debut came soon after, a World Cup qualifier against Sierra Leone in Ibadan with Mercy playing as a winger. She marked it with two goals. She scored one more in the return leg to cement her place in the team. In 2001, she was named the first African Women Footballer of the Year, and was a 1999 and 2004 FIFA World All-Star.
She has played for Nigeria in three FIFA Women’s World Cups and also helped Nigeria’s Super Falcons to three African Women Championships (AWC) titles in 1998, 2000 and 2002. In November 2004, she married football journalist Colin Udoh in her home town of Port Harcourt.
In 2005, she was named by FIFA as one of its 15 Ambassadors for Women Football.