Meet Yasmeen Shabsough from Jordan. She’s won the Jordan Premier League four times with Amman Club, and has represents her country at the World Championships amongst others. She tells us here what it is like to be a young female athlete trying to compete at the highest level and why she is joining the Equal Playing Field squad.
Want to help Yasmeen and her teammates get up Mt Kilimanjaro and inspire the next generation? Visit https://startsomegood.com/equalplayingfield
I was only five years old when I started playing football. I played football while other girls jumped skipping ropes. At the age of 12 I had my first training at Amman Club and from that time my official football journey began. At the age of 13 I was chosen to play for the national team and my first national tournament was in Sri Lanka 2009.
Jordan was chosen to host the FIFA U17 Women’s World Cup 2016 — and as part of the organizing committee, I am so proud to have made this huge event unforgettable. For the first time in Jordan’s football history our national football stadium was sold out!
My family are like my backbone. The support of my family is one of the most important factors that has helped me to continue with my passion in football. My mum is selfless, always working hard, preparing food to break fast during Ramadan, but drives me to my training without eating so I’m not late. My dad is my biggest cheerleader. He never misses my matches and always gives me tips at half time. My big brother joins me in my friendly matches with friends. He is a good player too.
In the beginning, being a girl who plays football in Jordan was not accepted by people. They did not believe that a young girl can play football; nor that she should. People only started accepting and supporting us when we were doing better than the men’s teams.
Still, each challenge I face in my life is a mountain.
I remember one time when I was heading to a game, and a woman stopped me in the street, looked at me in the face and said “I hate girls who play football”. I was shocked — but at the same time I wanted to show her that people like her will only be a motivation for me to do my best. That day, I captained my team and we reached the final. I even scored the winning goal and brought the cup with me back to school. I will never care for what people think about me and I will keep on doing what I love because I can.
For me equality is explained through the application of laws, rights and obligations. Equality means no discrimination with respect to sex, age, religion or ethnicity. But every day we go to our jobs throughout the day and later we go training — we can still not make a living from football, though it takes up our lives. I have little social or family time.
In the future, I hope that applying equal rights will lead to equal pay for women in all jobs and for me in particular football. I strongly believe that if women are given equal rights they will be able to build a better future for humanity. Equality will empower women to perform better and make choices with no oppression and this will provide a better future to the family and to the society.
Football has taught me so much.
Football made me realize that I have to do my best and never stop trying until I get what I want.
Football also taught me teamwork — and how to manage my ego and understand that a goal to be achieved it is the work of several people and their talents are important to reach that goal.
Football opened the door for me to travel to different parts of the world where I learned that diversity and differences are important for a better world. I am more tolerant of differences today through football.
Football showed me the cultural constraints that stops other girls and women in my country and other countries from giving them opportunities to do something they love.
Climbing Kilimanjaro will help me to encourage many girls and young women in my country to change their view about themselves and other women. I want to promote football and encourage every young woman to take up this beautiful game!
Joining other women from different parts of the world is a message to the whole world that football can unite us as humans, regardless of our countries, religions, colors or any other differences.
If you would like to support Yasmeen and her team mates break a world record and inspire a new generation please donate here https://startsomegood.com/equalplayingfield
To find out more about the challenge, please go to www.equalplayingfield.com