The Grassroots Game: Bahrain's Ravens FC
With all eyes on the teams playing in this summer's tournament, we're speaking to people who play football in neighbourhoods all around the world. In this series, local grassroots clubs share their passion for playing football and how they hope it'll impact the communities around them. First up are the women of Ravens FC, a team based in the Kingdom of Bahrain.
Women's football in Bahrain "has always been overshadowed and overlooked", one of the players of Ravens FC told us. But that hasn't stopped these women from lacing up. In fact, they hope that by taking to the pitch, they're putting women's sport in the spotlight. For them, growing the women's game starts at the local level. And they've only just begun.
"Family isn't just defined by last name or blood, it's defined by commitment and love. Showing up when they need it most and never giving up on each other. The Ravens FC to me are like family that can never be replaced".
– Rama Salem, 32, Captain
"Unfortunately, my mother wasn't very supportive of me playing football when I was younger. She had traditional views of females being quiet, reserved and dainty. I do often think about how much better I could have been if I had started younger and was nurtured to follow my passions".
– Linda Barbakos, 32, Defender
"The men in my circle of football are extremely supportive. Many of them are current or past coaches or friends who I have been playing with for years. I never feel intimidated to play alongside them or against them. I know for a fact that I would not be the player I am today without their influence".
– Ashleigh Packer-Tannous, 34, Midfielder
"I began playing with my brothers and boy cousins in my grandfather's backyard. I remember my girl cousins asking me to join their [doll] parties. I also remember saying, 'Only when the game is over'".
– Deem Al Aseeri, 33, Defender