Muslim female soccer team unite sports and faith

STORY: “My name is Kamara and I play for Sisterhood FC. It's a football club for Muslim women."

London-based Sisterhood Football Club is an all-female soccer team

that allows its members to enjoy playing the their Muslim dress code.

Founded in 2018, Sisterhood has doubled in size to almost 100 players.

One of them is Kamara Davis.

She converted to Islam at age 17 and felt she would never play soccer again because it seemed incompatible with the religion's traditional dress.

But when she heard about Sisterhood, she jumped at the chance to join.

“As soon as I get the ball on my feet and I give it that power, it's just like a surge of energy that's been built up that gets released through that and that power of just kicking a ball, it feels, honestly, it just feels so good."

Sisterhood runs a weekly training session and its first team competes in the Ladies Super Liga for 5- and 7-a-side teams.

The club also offers a chance to Muslim women to enjoy a break from traditional roles that many say are expected of them.

Fatima Ali says some families struggled at first to understand why women and girls wanted to play sport.

"Sometimes even your brothers might be like 'Oh, what's the point of you going all the way from West London to South-East? Like, What's the point?' But I'll be like, 'I enjoy playing and we've got a team. This is it, we've got a match, we've got to go to do it'."

Sisterhood FC was set up as a way to reconcile the interest in playing sport among many Muslim women and their adherence to their faith.

To underscore the point, the club badge features the image of a hijab, which was barred by soccer's world governing body FIFA on safety grounds in 2007.

The ban was only relaxed in 2012, with the hijab fully permitted in 2014.

Many of Sisterhood's players are excited about the 2022 World Cup in Qatar – the first ever to be hosted in a majority Muslim country.

[Davis] “I want to be an inspiration to other young black Muslim girls and other women to say, 'Yeah, we've got three kids, we've got a husband and we've got work and everything, but you could still do football'. It doesn't stop there.”