Kabul Girls Soccer Club

In 1981, when Awista Ayub was only two years old, her family fled Afghanistan for the United States, where Awista flourished, thanks to organized athletics—and where she vowed to make a difference in her home country someday. Soon after the fall of the Taliban, Awista saw her chance: She founded the Afghan Youth Sports Exchange, an organization dedicated to nurturing Afghan girls through soccer. What began with eight young women has exploded into something of a phenomenon. Fifteen teams now compete in an organized league, with hundreds of girls participating through the Afghanistan Football Federation.

In Kabul Girls Soccer Club, she tells her story and the stories of the eight original girls, with whom she has kept in touch. Timely, heartfelt, and moving, it shows how women can find strength in each other, in teamwork, and in themselves—risking their lives to obtain the freedom that we take for granted.

“Awista Ayub has movingly captured the indomitable spirit of Afghan women in this chronicle of brave girls who risked persecution and worse to pursue the dreams of ordinary childhood. In doing what they love most in life – playing soccer – the girls become emblems of the fight for equality and human rights under the Taliban. Their story reminds us that there is always hope and possibility for a brighter future – even in the wreckage left by war and conflict.”
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

“The young Afghan women in Kabul Girls Soccer Club are pioneers. Their story is one of resilience and courage. This book is a testament to the power of hope and the will to dream in a country where so many dreams have been cut short.”

Khaled Hosseini, bestselling author of The Kite Runner

“The courageous stories in Kabul Girls Soccer Club teach us all that soccer has no boundaries, and that it can change lives.  These young girls prove to us all that while we have our own individual identities off the field, on the field we are universally the same—striving and struggling to achieve our greatest potential.”
Sunil Gulati, President of the U.S. Soccer Federation

“Born in innocence, this affecting narrative struggles through a vale of suffering toward wisdom. Readers will thank Awista Ayub for her determination to deepen understanding between the two countries she calls home.”
Madison Smartt Bell, author All Souls’ Rising

“Being privileged to grow up in the United States, Awista does not want to leave it at that. She understands how football could empower these young girls and build their self-confidence, way beyond sport. And way beyond this group of brave young girls. Their families. Their communities.”
Astrid Aafjes, Founder & Executive Director of WomenWin

Kabul Girls Soccer Club is a testament to the power of sports and the impact it can have on young girls throughout the world.”
Julie Foudy, Former Captain U.S. Women’s Soccer

“Sport has proven to be an effective tool for development, and Awista’s work demonstrates the importance of the role that sports can have towards positively impacting the lives of youth around the world.”
Ethan Zohn, Co-founder of Grassroot Soccer

“This book is a testament to the critical importance across cultures of nurturing girls’ potential and dreams.”
Marian Wright Edelman, President of the Children’s Defense Fund