Financial Tribune – NEW YORK, Iranian female football coach Katayoun Khosrowyar won the Women’s Soccer United Award for inspirational coaches involved in women and girls’ football on Sunday.
To find the winner, the WSU, a second-division pro-am women’s soccer league in the US, searched through women coaches that help develop the game. The effort ended in a shortlist of three women including Khosrowyar, Anouk Bruil, and Liga Patupa, according to Women’s Soccer United website.
The majority of public voters selected Khosrowyar as the winner by giving her 56% of all cast votes. Bruil with 27% and Patupa with 17% finished second and third.
“It means all the hard work has finally paid off,” Khosrowyar said after hearing the announcement on winning the award. “The global football community has acknowledged that women’s football in Iran is on the rise and this award will put Iran in the spotlight and hopefully the managing bodies will support it more.”
“I don’t think anyone would have thought the Iranian U19 National Team coach would win this, but it is a great honor and I am looking forward to the next steps in my coaching career,” she added.
Khosrowyar currently is managing Iran U19 women football team and is the first Iranian women to receive the FIFA/AFC “A” grade for football coaches.
“When I was a player for the Iran national team I witnessed how unfairly we were treated internationally and especially being disqualified from participating in the pre-Olympic qualifications. I remember promising myself I would never allow another girl feel embarrassed the way I and my teammates felt after that horrible FIFA ruling. I wanted to train Iranian girls so well that they have a platform to prove to the world that they are qualified enough to play in high levels,” she said.
In the 2011 pre-Olympic games, FIFA set a hijab ban rule forcing Iran’s team out of the tally of the qualifications and it took almost three years to get the permission to play again.
Khosrowyar also talked about further developments of woman football players. “I have seen an influx of players wanting to be invited to the national team camp and also a lot of male coaches becoming trainers for female football players.”
“In my opinion there is a need for a youth league so the girls can get more exposure to matches and not suddenly walk into the Asian qualification games,” she added.
Khosrowyar described the characteristics of a successful football coach and also a successful player; strong in mentality, rolling model, and also being a good observer of the games.
“As a coach you have to be a strong role model that has a positive attitude even during tough times,” the “A” grade coach said. “The players are watching your every move and if they see that you’re not confident or strong they too will not be confident and strong. Also, train like you’re playing a real match, meaning give 100%.”
To the players she said, “As a player watch as many games as possible and analyze. Proper training that is football related is a must, meaning anything you do in training will have to mirror what you would really do in a match.”
Khosrowyar is training her team for two rounds of Asian qualifications. In terms of winning the first round the team progresses to the second round and heads to the championships. If the team finishes among the top three, they would be a part of World Cup.
Iran will play Myanmar, Laos and Palestine in the end of October in Myanmar as the first round of the qualifications.