Nigeria's Ordega swapped NWSL quality for China quantity, and she's fine with that

Ordega played for the Washington Spirit in the NWSL for four seasons, and saw her side to the Championship game in 2016 with an extra time goal in the semifinals. Nick Tre. Smith/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Nigeria striker Francisca Ordega is one of a rare group of Africans who have played in the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL) in the US, but says she opted to move to China for the money.

Along with Ordega, the likes of South Africa's Thembi Kgatlana and Linda Motlhalo, both of whom played for the Houston Dash last season, have chosen to leave the world's most competitive league for far-away riches.

With the NWSL paying fairly low salaries compared to Europe and Asia, Ordega says she had no real option but to take the offer from Shanghai WFC and leave the Washington Spirit.

Ahead of her third World Cup, Ordega tells ESPN: "You know where we come from, you know how our football is, you know how women's football is, especially in Africa.

"So if you get an opportunity, especially maybe an opportunity that will change your life forever, why won't you take it?

"You will take it because we are the breadwinners of our family, we take care of our family and people around us, we do everything for them so it's an opportunity, when it comes you just grab it.

"Who knows, tomorrow you might not see the opportunity and women... we don't have as long a time as guys to play soccer, so in this little time the more you gather and you save, the better for you in the future."

That is no to say the football is not of a good quality. China, after all, are past world champions.

Ordega says: "[I] enjoy playing with the club. Like, my team, we play like Barcelona, we don't run with the ball. The coach doesn't like running, he likes to enjoy the football and for the fans to enjoy it too even if we lose."

All that being said, a return to the NWSL is definitely on Ordega's mind, and she has given herself two years to save and make the most of the Chinese salary she earns.

"Then if I should go anywhere it should be back to America," she explains.

"I like America and it's kind of my home now so I can go play there and work and do other stuff or go back to school. I don't want to go anywhere else after China.

"America is one of the best places, for me it is the best place because I have played on all these continents [she was the first African to play in Australia's W-League]. If you really want to improve your soccer and everything, America is the best place for you to be.

"The organization, the professionalism, everything is just perfect there but I just needed to experience something different and this was the right time for me to do that.

"I really needed to do that. I have been in America for a good four years so at least I needed the change and here I am in China.

"So, it's a thing of joy, I get to meet a lot of people, know a lot of people, learn a lot of different cultures and join other different coaches.

"In the future, you can just go anywhere you want to, because you have already gathered all these experiences. It is not new to you. You can fit in anywhere."

Ordega will be part of the Super Falcons side in France, in a group with France, Norway, and South Korea. There first match is against Norway on Saturday.