“Soccer helps me find the best version of myself”- Meet Dani Richards, US
Meet Dani Richards based in the UAE. Here she tells us how football has been major source of peace and empowerment and has allowed her to find and express her inner strength.
To find out more about Equal Playing Field’s world record attempt, visit www.equalplayingfield.com
As a child, I was a bit timid on the soccer field. My older sister was always a naturally gifted athlete and I let her play that role in the family for many years. But I really looked up to her and 2 close older friends, all of whom played soccer. I tried to push myself to be the type of strong players they were. I was lucky enough to play for a team with a wonderful coach who taught me that timidity was my biggest weakness and pushed me to use my inner toughness to my advantage. I’ve been a defender ever since!
I grew up on an oil compound in Saudi Arabia. It was such a strange dichotomy- on one hand I was living in the country with arguably the worst record of women’s rights in the world, but on the other I was enjoying the freedoms of life on a compound. It made me more sensitive to knowing how fortunate I was to have the freedoms I did.
Soccer gives me the opportunity to choose every day to push myself and to choose to be proud of my strength. Sports have been a major source of peace and empowerment in my life, as has working towards empowerment of women in other aspects as well.
I have never been the best player on any team. But soccer to me is the opportunity to be the best version of myself. I love the opportunity to go out every week and see myself improving. It’s an opportunity to choose to be my best, most powerful me.
Climbing Kilimanjaro with EPF is about empowerment. As women, we hear every day who we are and what we should be- whether its directly spoken to us, or indirectly conveyed through culture and society. But by choosing to challenge myself, I actively choose to ignore those messages of disempowerment and instead choose to be strong and powerful.
I choose daily to go against the grain and be a stronger, better woman and person.
Kilimanjaro for me is the ultimate choice to do something outside the expectations put on me, both by other and myself. It is an opportunity to step into a better version of myself. And I hope that by being part of this awesome initiative, I am also opening the door for other women and girls to have similar opportunities to step into strength and power.