One year ago today, the Women's World Cup kicked off in Canada. Among the 24 teams were six that were brand new to the global stage, having battled their way out of their regional championships and qualifiers in the months before. Laying the foundation for women's soccer to get to that stage, however, is a long and complex process of mobilizing resources, cultivating and retaining talent, addressing barriers and stereotypes, building youth and adult systems, recruiting quality coaches, and much more. In Afghanistan, this process has more layers and more complexities than most.
The Afghanistan Women's National Team recently garnered attention after kit sponsor, hummel, released a new uniform design that includes a hijab. But the team faces an uphill challenge to assemble and train a team before this year's South Asian Football Federation Championships in India. Many potential players have fled Afghanistan and are living in Europe or North America as refugees, making connecting the dots that much more complicated.
We are honored to announce Soccer Without Borders as the new fiscal sponsor of the Afghanistan Women's National Team. For the last ten years, Soccer Without Borders has worked to build a more inclusive and equitable world through soccer. We hope that this partnership serves as a platform to advance their goals in the year ahead.