In August, the Eden Club started practices for girls’ futbol in Qwesmay. I grew up in sports and it has been a positive influence in developing team skills and my self-esteem, so I was naturally excited and curious what the girls in this area would think. You see, Qwesmay is a poorer area on the outskirts of Amman and there isn’t much opportunity for girls’ sports and not a normal tradition in the culture. Well, the first day we had 55 girls from the ages of 8-13 come to a 7:30am practice on a Saturday. I couldn’t believe it!
The girls were so excited and I could barely keep up with their Arabic at the hour, but their smiles revealed how delighted they were for the opportunity. There are 3 other coaches beside myself and their unique ability to make chaos into order with that many girls playing for the first time was amazing.
Numbers have dwindled with time, but the girls that have continue to come are not only growing in their futbol ability but also in character. Character is a key ingredient to the Eden Club on the field, in the classroom, and at home. Learning to respect and honor one another when mistakes happen has been challenging for these little girls: when passes aren’t made, girls’ keep dribbling and want to shoot goals by themselves, and they are screaming at one another. Yet slowly and surely we are already seeing girls change in how they interact in those moments.
One particularly I talked to several times about not screaming at each girl when they don’t do what she wants. I asked her if she would like me to do that to her every time I wanted something or she made a mistake. Watching her last practice, she plastered a smile on every time she wanted to scream and said ‘Look, look! I’m happy. Not angry!’ and we both laughed. She truly wants to be better in that area.
It’s been fun observing these girls the last weeks and I’m getting used to cultural differences in sports. The largest one is I’m not used to getting kissed on the check by the girls when they are leaving! Soon these girls will be out running me!