Mia Elizabeth Bhuta is making history at just 16 years old. She recently became the first woman of Indian descent to represent the United States at a World Cup.
Indian Panorama reports that Bhuta is the daughter of a father who was born in Gujarat, India, and immigrated to the United States at 16 for better education and to pursue his passion for tennis. Her mother grew up in Pittsburgh and she met her husband at Mercyhurst University in Erie, PA, according to ESPN.
Bhuta made her debut at the Women’s U17 World Cup opening match in Bhubaneswar, India, on October 12. According to Pittsburgh Soccer Now (PSN), Bhuta’s performance for the U.S. against India was incredible and unmatched.
Bhuta scored the eighth and final goal in the 62nd minute to help the US team beat her father’s native country 8-0. PSN said that Bhuta wants “to champion better things for women’s football, be an ambassador for the game.”
In an article from She The People, it was said that Bhuta dedicated her winning goal to her grandfather.
“The goal is really special to me. My grandfather is at the hospital going through a bypass surgery, so he couldn’t be here tonight, so that was for him,” she said.
Bhuta has received ongoing support and congratulatory messages from family, friends, colleagues, and fans. However, ESPN said she holds dear the messages from young Indian girls who’ve let her know she inspired them.
“We’ve seen in a lot of countries that girls don’t have the same opportunities to play sports,” Bhuta told ESPN. “So first off, it’s a call to everyone else around the world that, ‘hey, we need your support.'”
“In the past, we’ve seen women have a large impact on their families, but I think now we’re starting to have a significant impact on society, and we have a larger scope of influence,” Bhuta added.
After this World Cup, Indian Panorama reports that Bhuta plans to attend college at Stanford University.
“I really do value my education, so that’s kind of what’s up next for me,” she said.
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