Not many programs are being organized to attract female players and the fans’ attention to female soccer in Liberia, and this perhaps makes it unpopular.
But another medium to promote females is providing sports education for young and talented players in various sports, especially in an academy.
In Liberia, out of the few soccer academies around, the Monrovia Football Academy (MFA) is one of those seeking to break gender barriers in the Liberian soccer arena.
At the MFA football is combined with formal education along with life skill lessons to break down gender barriers.
Out of the 51 student athletes currently at the academy, there are 21 females, which represent 41.17 percent of the total number of student athletes.
In addition, what could become an extra motivation for the current female student athletes at the academy and serves as an encouragement for future ones, is the willingness of some prominent global female icons to serve as ambassadors for the MFA.
For the past weeks, the MFA has named some global icons as its ambassadors, including head coach of the US Women’s National Soccer Team, and 2015 FIFA Women’s Football Coach of the Year, Jill Ellis; the Executive Director of a nonprofit organization that seeks to empower, educate and energize girls in Liberia and around the globe, Hana Tunis; and two-time Olympic gold medalist for the US – soccer, two-times World Cup bronze medalist and winner of US Soccer Foundation’s 2009 Humanitarian of the Year Award, Angela Hucles.
These female icons serving as ambassadors for the MFA clearly shows the academy’s role in promoting gender equality and what female student athletes stand to benefit.
There can be a great achievement not only in female soccer, but also in national development by some of those current and would be female student athletes at the academy.
The MFA, according to its Executive Director Bill Smith, goes beyond training its student athletes to becoming professional soccer players, by making them key stakeholders in various professions nationally and internationally.
When females play sports, they are provided a safe workshop in which to learn critical life skills and create space at a very young age to learn how to perform under pressure, understand their role on a team, participate in a coaching relationship, and learn the importance of practice and preparation. Widespread participation in sports delivers competent women leaders and contributors to countries, companies, and communities.
Making sports available to girls is one of the best investments one can make to prepare for an uncertain future that will absolutely require competent and diverse leadership.
With the involvement of those global female icons and other males as ambassadors, a great difference can be made.