Sports for Health Promotion and Empowerment

From the field to the field

Athletics have always been an important part of Mimi's life.  At 15, she became the youngest person to represent the national team of Ghana.  She is also the first foreign-born woman to play for Ghana, and the first Ivy-League graduate to compete in the FIFA Women's World Cup.

In her campaign with Ghana, she helped the team earn a Silver Medal in the 2002 FIFA African Women's Cup of Nations Tournament in Warri, Nigeria.  In 2003, she played in all of Ghana's FIFA World Cup games.

In addition to a prolific club and international soccer career in which she earned many distinctions, Mimi also played NCAA Division I College on the Columbia University Women's Soccer Team and was a founding Member of Portland Rain (A-League).  She has done product endorsements for Nike, Lotto, Puma, Adidas, Zimmerli of Switzerland, and Wells Fargo, among other brands.

Compelled by her passion to give back, Mimi holds a U.S. Soccer Coaching license and has coached at several youth soccer organizations across the United States, including Harlem Youth Soccer, Santa Monica United, The Brentwood School, Beverly Hills FC, Northwest Nationals, and AYSO.  She is also an AYSO Region 18 (Manhattan Beach, CA) Board Member-at-large.

In 2005, she was an invited speaker and panelist at the UCLA African Studies Conference on Soccer and Nationalism, where she spoke on "African Women's Soccer and Nationalism."  In 2016, she was invited to speak at TEDxOccidental.  In her presentation entitled, "African Women's Soccer and Empowerment: Memoirs of a Black Queen," she reflected on her experience with the national team through a qualitative research lens, identifying herself as a participant-observer in a social experiment on sports-derived empowerment and identity.  

In the fall of 2016, she was awarded a grant from the Kaiser Foundation to develop a course on Women's Sports and Empowerment listed jointly by the Departments of Kinesiology and Urban and Environmental Policy at Occidental College.  

She has been involved in research projects using sports for health promotion and empowerment based in South Africa and Nigeria with the UCLA Semel Institute and the UC-Berkeley Bixby Center for Population and Reproductive Health, respectively.

Through her ongoing volunteerism and research, she continues to theorize ways to create more flexible gender identities for young women through sports participation.