Afghan women’s team kicking goals on and off the pitch
The Afghan Women’s Soccer Team, based out of Ron Barassi Snr Park in Docklands, is kicking goals both on and off the pitch.
The team, which consists of players that dramatically evacuated out of Kabul in August 2021 when the Taliban seized control of the country, rounded out its season on August 28 with a 9-0 thumping of Brimbank Stallions FC at the picturesque Docklands ground in NewQuay.
Supported by professional club Melbourne Victory throughout the season, the side finished third in Football Victoria’s State League 4 West, just three points off winners Gisborne Soccer Club.
Many in the team feared they might never play again during a traumatic period last year but were granted humanitarian visas by the federal government and eventually formed the team based in Docklands.
On the field, their inaugural season has been an undoubted success, however off the field they have been further integrating into Australian life, too.
Earlier this year, members of the team joined the Jobs Victoria Employment Services (JVES) program from employment agency Asuria and have recently completed a 10-week course to prepare them for the workforce and learn about job opportunities in the area.
After signing up to the program, Asuria mentors worked one-on-one with the women to help develop training and work pathways.
Across the 10 weeks they covered employability skills, the labour market, resume writing, and managing internal and external stresses.
All 10 of the women graduated, receiving a certificate of completion to support their job searches and future engagement with potential employers, and a graduation ceremony at AAMI Park in August recognised their completion of the course.
Captain and goalkeeper for the team, Fatima, said she was grateful to be on the job-seeking journey with her teammates.
“The main thing is that we’re alive right now, and it’s because of our team that we were together, and we will be together; fingers crossed,” she said.
“I’m really hopeful for the future as we are trying to accomplish much more, it’s not just about sport; besides that, we have our education, and we have to care about that.”
Asuria will continue to support members of the team with regular appointments and check-ins. •
Caption 1: The Afghan women’s team at half-time during a game at Ron Barassi Snr Park this season.
Caption 2: Members of the team have recently completed a 10-week course to prepare them for the workforce.