Another milestone for Arab women as 20-year-old female footballer Sarah Essam makes major waves in the English Premier League. Not the only Egyptian to be revered for their football skills, she follows in the steps of world famous Liverpool footballer, Mohamed Salah.
Hailing from Cairo, Sarah Essam first made headlines in 2017 as Egypt’s first ever female Premier League Footballer, as she signed with Stoke City Ladies football club in the UK. Making her mark on the playing field, the young striker is consistently taking home football achievements and awards while she studies for her degree in Civil Engineering at Derby University.
Winning Stoke City’s Golden Boot award in May 2019 for having scored 12 goals in 12 matches, Sarah smashed through yet another glass ceiling as her team’s top scorer and paving the way for the group to get a league promotion for the BCUS League, which is the football association of “British Universities and Colleges Sport.”
Another award under Sarah’s belt is an “Arab Woman of the Year: Achievement In Sport” award, which she received in 2018 from the London Arab Foundation, followed by being featured in the BBC’s "100 most influential women in the world,” which is another landmark achievement for such a remarkable young woman.
Speaking to local press about what led her to aiming high when it comes to her chose sport and the reaction of her family and peers, she stated, "Ever since I was a child, I've always been that rebel kid who likes going on adventures and reaching the impossible, so it's in my personality, even though I know people might give me looks and criticize what I do. This never stops me, it actually gives me a feeling of satisfaction when I do something different."
Sarah Essam’s journey to where she stands now was no easy feat as society didn’t believe in her as much as she believed in herself, urging her to focus on her studies. Snubbing their remarks, Essam balanced her education with her love for football and became a part of Egypt’s national team.
"The only source of support that pushed me to achieve so many things, alhamdulillah [thank God], was myself. I used to talk to myself, motivate myself, and apply the law of attraction. I believe the strongest support for a person is themselves. I never waited for support and never will. Faith in God and working hard is my magic. It's all about adjusting your mentality to what you want and preparing yourself for any obstacles that will stand in the way of reaching your dream," she said.
Sarah has since paved the way for other young Egyptian/Arab women who aspire to become professional sportswomen as society becomes more accepting of the idea following Sarah Essam’s example.