Jerusalem24 – Deema Yousef, women’s national football team player, Albireh football club player, Liverpool university football player, previously a sports journalist and who’s doing a sports business management Master’s in Liverpool University, shares on Vibes all about what it means to be a woman in this field.
Deema who has been playing football since a very young age starting in the streets of her neighborhood in AlBireh, says ever since she was 12, she fell in love with the game and played for 15 years for the Albireh football team, later joining the national team.
The women’s national football team has come a long way, now there are several national teams regarding different age groups, starting with under 12 to the national team, she says. Adding that it is great and it provides more opportunities for female athletes, and it has been growing. But still, there’s also a long way to come, as females they’re never prioritized, for example, pitches are prioritized for the male teams. The women’s national football team needs more cultural support, she says.
For the younger players, it’s easier than it was before, the support provided by parents and the community is very important in such an environment. Many players didn’t have it easy but eventually, the players got through and many received the support needed. Deema says, “They came to see us and saw that we are good”.
The national team established the ground rules which are getting much better, and Deema expects that within 20-30 years we will have a much better environment for females to practice football. She thinks that progress is happening and to have an actual change you need time, adding that looking back to 15 years ago we didn’t have what we do now, but we’re here.
“Representing Palestine through football and wearing a Palestinian shirt that a lot of people have died for and to give Palestine that name, means so much to me and makes me proud. Football is very empowering and it shows that Palestinians want to have an opportunity like anyone else, through football people know that we exist”.
Deema believes that women face political, social, and cultural issues and that changes are needed, saying that Palestinian women athletes have the potential to achieve the impossible and they have what it takes to go national and international. “All that we need is more encouragement and courage”.
For more details follow the link to the full interview!