In Clarkston, Georgia - considered the most diverse square mile in America - a group of fifteen girls chatter about the U.S. Women’s National Team winning the 2019 World Cup this past July. Their dreams are being created in a small town is only what the future holds for women in sports. The only girl's team in the Clarkston community program, this team has seen an increase in participation and success over the past four years.
The U18 Clarkston FC team is led by a female head coach, Soroya Faiz. It is difficult being a female coach and earning your stripes in a male-dominated industry. However, Faiz has been a leader and role model for these young aspiring athletes.
“It's tough being the only girl's team in a soccer community that is male-dominated”, said Faiz. “I try and teach these girls every day that they are worth it and to be positive.”
At the age of six, Faiz grew up playing soccer in Bahrain, her home country located along the Persian Gulf. She later became a member of Bahrain’s Women’s National Team by the age of eighteen. She then moved to the U.S. and started working for Soccer in the Streets as a coach. She has been with the girl's team for two years now and started her head coaching journey working with players who had never touched a soccer ball.
“This team is important to me and I want the best for these female athletes”, said Faiz. “I started with most of these girls from the beginning and know that if we keep working hard some of these players can go far.”
As a member of the Clarkston FC team, Dah has been with the team for a few years now. She has seen much improvement in herself and others from the first day.
“From day one to today watching the U.S. Women’s team win the World Cup it has encouraged me to work harder and be a leader for my teammates, “ said Dah. “I enjoy coming out and playing with my teammates.”
The future is bright for the Clarkston FC team as they have grown over the last few years and to see an improvement in their 2019 fall season starting off with three straight wins.
Along with the Clarkston FC U18 girls team, Soccer in the Streets has six other girls team in the southside community program. These teams are made up of the College Park and Fairburn area, age range from 8-12 years old and these are overseen by the community program manager Ulric Alsobrook. These teams have been around for about two seasons now and have seen more than 60 females athletes in the program.
“We are excited to see the girl's side of the Soccer in the Streets program flourish,” said Alsobrook. “The past year has been monumental for these female athletes and we know the number of participants will only increase over time.”
Overall, more girls are playing the sport. In addition to the Soccer in the Streets Community programs, over 120 girls participate in the Atlanta Public Schools programs.