August 26, 2015

THE REFORMATION, LED FROM AMERICA:

In Iran, a Women's Soccer Revolution : In a country where women aren't allowed to attend soccer games, the sport is taking off at the youth level--in part thanks to an Iranian-American (BILL SPINDLE, Aug. 24, 2015, NY Times)

[Q]uietly, there is something of a women's soccer revolution going on here. And one of its leaders, of all people, is an Iranian-American.

Katayoun Khosrowyar, 27, moved here at age 17. She has captained the Iranian women's national soccer team, lived through a battle over the wearing of head scarves on the field and, last year, evacuated a team of young Iranian girls from earthquake-ravaged Nepal.

Khosrowyar--Kat to friends and fans--now holds a seat on the sport's national oversight board, in addition to coaching the national under-14 team. While the women's national team has struggled in top-level international competition and is currently in the process of being reconstituted, the sport is taking off at the youth level. Four thousand Iranian girls now play soccer in Iran's women's and girls' leagues, up from none in 2005, according to the country's soccer association.

"The biggest challenge we have is the lack of leader coaches," said Elahe Arabameri, who recently took over as the national head of Iran's women's soccer programs. "She's just one, but she's got a great future."

Khosrowyar and Arabameri hope the nuclear deal recently struck between Iran and six world powers will open Iran to the world again, ushering in a new era for women's sports that includes foreign corporate sponsorship deals and cooperative arrangements with European and perhaps even American soccer programs.

Posted by at August 26, 2015 2:33 PM
  

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