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More Than Football: Kurdish Women Win Big With Syria Title

Members of the Amuda girls’s crew participate in a coaching session within the northeastern Syrian city of Amuda in Hasakeh province on February 7, 2020.


Samar Sheikh’s neighbours used to inform her soccer was not for ladies however the criticism stopped when her crew gained the very first girls’s championship in Syria.

The 20-year-old additionally completed high scorer on the finish of a season that noticed groups from throughout Syria face-off over weeks earlier than the ultimate that was held in late January in Damascus.

“I’ve been hooked on football since I was little,” says Sheikh throughout a coaching session in Amuda, a city in northeastern Syria the place a part of the autonomous Kurdish administration is headquartered.

“I used to watch my brothers play and I’ve watched a lot of games,” she says, as her teammates, all sporting fluorescent bibs, jog behind the coach on the factitious grass of the coated pitch.

The younger Kurdish girl, sweat pearling down her face and her ruffled hair in a ponytail, recounts how she began enjoying when she was 15 however needed to cease “because of the criticism from her family and neighbours.”

She got here again to it extra decided than ever to beat social and gender prejudice and all of it paid off when it was with cheers crowd greeted her and her crew off the bus after profitable the nationwide trophy.

– Victory parade –

With their medals round their necks, Sheikh and her teammates even went on a celebratory tour of Amuda, joined in dance by residents congratulating them and asking for selfies.

“I couldn’t believe it,” she says. “Seeing all these people in the street to celebrate our victory.”

After a week-long break the crew has resumed coaching for 2 hours a day.

Dalaf Hussein confronted the identical challenges as a teenage woman attempting to stay her ardour for soccer in northeastern Syria.

Plastered on the partitions of her room are posters of her favorite gamers, together with one in every of Portuguese legend and Actual Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

“Passersby used to bother us when they saw us play in the street because it was considered a boys’ sport, but we never paid attention,” she says.

Hussein says she additionally needed to cope with her mother and father’ opposition to her enjoying soccer.

“But after our victory in the championship, there was no pushback,” she says, with a satisfied smile.

Syrian society remains to be largely patriarchal and conservative however girls take pleasure in higher gender equality in areas underneath Kurdish management.

Hussein says she hopes soccer will proceed to develop in her area.

“Many girls have come to sign up since our victory,” she says.


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