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Shireen-with-football

By Shireen Ahmed, Global Sports Correspondent for Safe World

Article first published by Muslimay Muslima

"The community says one thing, we are destined to do something else. And we should follow our passion and our interests. It helps encourage others."

Shireen-at-matchI come from a culture that encourages women to be intelligent yet demure. Quick but respectful.

I was taught that Islam teaches me to stand up, to be proud and to make the most of the skills Allah swt gave me. So instead of walking softy- I run. Instead of being dainty- I play hard. I respect myself. I acknowledged I am blessed, Alhumdullilah.

I was enrolled into soccer programs at a very young age to keep me busy. Tire me out. I thrived. I hungered for more. I kept playing. I loved it. My parents supported me.

Still, the questions always came. When I reached high school, "Isn't she too old to play?" When I was getting married: "She is going to be a wife! Why is she playing?"

Shireen-dribbling-footballAfter I had four kids: "Really? You still play? With a family?" The one way to get me to do something is to tell me that I physically can't- or I shouldn't.

My family is great, Alhumdullilah. My sons watch me play. They know it's normal for Mama to compete. My husband cheers me on. He nurtures my drive. My daughter follows my footsteps. She wants to play 'forever'. My parents still cheer me on.

The community says one thing, we are destined to do something else. And we should follow our passion and our interests. It helps encourage others.

Now I still play, coach and I write. Hoping to ingnite a fire in others. Reiterate that the fire can burn.


Shireen-Ahmed-2Shireen Ahmed is a frontline worker in Social Services, writer and footballer living in Toronto. Her passions include #VAW advocacy, her amazing family, football, coffee and her two cats. She contributes to various magazines and writes about her experiences in football and sport in her blog “Tales of a Hijabi Footballer”

Follow Shireen on Twitter: @_shireenahmed_

Blogspot: Tales from a Hijabi Footballer