Nia Christopher looks to continue making mark on international scene
Bermuda striker Nia Christopher has been making strides both on the international scene and at the Maryland-based Towson University but the 20 year-old is keeping her feet on the ground as she works towards her ambitions.
That work will continue on Friday when she will look to help Bermuda to a positive result against the Dominican Republic in their Concacaf W Championships qualifier in Santo Domingo before next Tuesday’s homecoming against Grenada at the National Sports Centre.
Christopher showed that she was well-equipped for the senior international level after scoring a hat-trick against the Cayman Islands during Bermuda’s 6-0 win on February 22 in Florida.
The team started their campaign with a 4-0 loss to Jamaica in Kingston and will be looking to finish this phase strongly in their push for a spot at the Concacaf W Championships in Mexico in July. That tournament serves as the qualifier for the Fifa Women’s World Cup.
Speaking to the Baltimore Sun in a recent interview, Christopher played down her own influence in the Bermuda team and shared her belief that the group will continue to deliver impressive results once the players respect the work of the coaches.
“It was good, it was my first international hat-trick so I was happy,” Christopher said.
“I think we can be really good. We just have to stick with it and trust our coaches and have faith in them and each other,” said Christopher, who also reflected on the team’s opening match against 2019 Women’s World Cup qualifiers Jamaica.
“I knew it was going to be a tough game,” Christopher said. “Jamaica is one of the top teams in the Caribbean right now. So we just had to go out and do our best because sometimes that’s all you can do. We just had to trust the coaches and all of the preparation they had given us.”
Christopher, who has scored four goals in her five games since matriculating into the senior room, also represented Bermuda at the youth levels.
Her returns on the collegiate scene are equally impressive and have caused a few persons to take notice.
In her sophomore year, Christopher scored 13 goals for Towson Tigers, this included five match-winning strikes, as she worked her way to several accolades.
She earned first-team honours through the United Soccer Coaches NCAA Division I Women’s All-East Region and All-Colonial Athletic Association.
It was the latest step in a journey that started years prior.
Christopher, who played several sports as a child including basketball, gymnastics, sailing and track and field, found her passion in football.
“I just had a love for the game,” Christopher shared. “I always just came back to it.”
Her father, D. Lloyd Christopher, was a standout during his days at American International College, where he still ranks fifth in goals (29) and is tied for fourth in assists (13) for the programme, having secured first team selections for the Northeast-10 Conference in 1986 and 87.
He also represented Bermuda in the mid-1990s and today serves as president of the Bermuda Referees Association.
Meanwhile, Tigers coach Katherine Vettori is happy with Christopher’s contributions and believes she has all the tools to develop into an even stronger player.
“I think she’s just scratching the surface. Her potential is limitless. She’s unique. There is no other player I have coached or worked with that is like Nia,” said Vettori.
“She could be the best player in the CAA,” Vettori said. “She was recognised as the National Player of the Week and more of that could be coming. She came in maybe slight in stature, and she’s continuing to get even stronger and faster. So the future is bright.”