Truth be told, Iran isn’t on my 100, 1,000, or even 1,000,000 destinations to visit before I’m too old and decrepit to kick a soccer ball list. But it was inspiring to read about women’s soccer gaining popularity at the youth level in a county that doesn’t allow women to attend soccer games. A recent write-up in The Wall Street Journal told the story of a 27-year-old woman named Katyoun “Kat” Khosrowyar. Kat, a soccer enthusiast, has been a captain of Iran’s national soccer team and instrumental in attracting Iranian youth to participate in organized soccer programs. Currently 4,000 girls are signed up to play soccer. Guess how many there were in 2005? Zero.
On the surface, Kat’s story demonstrates how sports can provide a positive outlet for kids and teens. On a deeper level, it’s about how persistence and determination can enact change from the ground up, and that one person truly make a difference. I mean, her story is being told here in America — more than 7,000 miles away!
The takeaway for me? Next time I want to quit — a workout, a team, reading a book, etc. — I’m going to remember Kat, and I’m going to stick it out. I can’t promise that I’ll never quit anything again (although I don’t want to make that my M.O.), I can confirm that she has now helped 4,001 people.