Farah Azab is an energetic young Jordanian woman who follows her passion despite challenges, from working in advertising to being a radio presenter of a social live talk show, to being a Head football coach, her heart is always set on the goal for achievement.
Arab Woman Mag wanted to share with its readers Farah’s experience as a football player and coach,
From what age did your love for football start, and did your parents encourage your passion towards this sport?
My passion for football started at the early age of 6, fostered by a sport loving family that believed in and supported me throughout my sports career.
Can you tell us your journey in football, and how it progressed till you made Head football coach?
The journey started playing football in my neighborhood, the passion for the game was haunting to the extent where I almost carried a football wherever I went and played it anywhere whenever there was free time, I took this passion into school and I played there during PE lessons, my school was very supportive and my teachers and trainers at the time saw the potential in me and encouraged me to take it a step further into professionalism. In 1999 I joined one of the only three women football clubs in Jordan; Amman Club, through which I played several games until the year 2004, during this time and because of the many achievements and rewards we achieved as a team and personally as a player; I was presented an offer to join Jordan youth club which later became one of the top women football teams in Jordan.
2005 was a milestone in my life; for two reasons; mainly because it was the first year that a national female football team was created and I was called as a main player within the team; and second because during this year the first Jordanian women football league was established and my team which was Jordan youth club came first among all other teams.
My journey with the national team lasted for 9 years through which I achieved national and international awards; such as the Black Iris Award, Women of the Match several times, Best Goal, and Striker of the Tournament.
My life with the national team and the responsibility of carrying my country’s name forced me to develop my skills and pushed me to overachieve ; which in return presented me with a valuable opportunity to be the first female professional player in Jordan to be requested to play in the Lebanese league as a professional foreign player for two seasons.
What was your experience like as a Head football coach?
This role was very challenging for me; however the challenge was not related to transferring my knowledge and skills to others but the main challenge was to convince the community players and spectators to accept a female coach trainer , let alone training males.
In spite of that I overcame that challenge with patience and time; and gained the respect and trust because of the team’s achievement and level of skills that the team acquired.
I came to a cross road in my life where I had to make a very tough decision; which was leaving the thing that have always made me happy even in tough times. I had to choose between continuing my bachelor’s degree in industrial engineering and professional career over football because I came to a point that I can no longer shine in both, as unfortunately in general universities in the Middle East have no synchronization and agreements with any of the sports federations where every player has to face this challenge.
The second reason was unfortunately because till today sports in Jordan and especially for females; doesn’t provide substantial financial income that would allow a person to pursue this as a full-fledged career.
What do you tell people that still believe that football is not a “girls” sport, are they right?
I tell them that at this time and age I don’t believe that females are incapable of doing anything; and as we accept female presidents and business women and pilots, I believe the taboo of having a female football player is or should be a story of the past.
Being a woman should not prevent anyone from doing anything they love as long as it is not harmful to anyone.
Where you ever faced with defiance from family or friends for your choice of sport?
No my family and friends have always supported me and are my biggest fans; cheering me throughout my games.
How do you make the balance between your passion for football and your career and personal social life?
It wasn’t easy when I was within the national football team; we trained 6 days a week.
However with good time management, dedication and the understanding of my family and friends made it possible and manageable.
From your experience what are the qualities that make a good, successful female football player?
Dedication, commitment, having strong belief in herself and her team mates, being a great team player and having a very competitive and ambitious personality.
What are some challenges that females may face pursuing football as a sport or career, what advice would you give them?
The main challenge would be managing their time between their education and their sport. Finding the balance between those two is very tough however my advice to them will be to always prioritize their education over sport and pursue a professional career with that education; as long as the status quo within the women football teams remain as it is today; where unfortunately a football career is not as stable and secure as a professional career.
Finally how does it feel when you score a goal?
This is an indescribable feeling; the second the goal net trembles time freeze; all you can hear is the crowd roaring in your ears and you feel your team mates arms all around you;
It’s a rush of excitement ….the best moment of the match.
For this interview translated in Arabic click here
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