Who is SHE and Empower?
Farida Salem is a football player and coach, lately she started focusing on her coaching career. Farida is the founder and CEO of Empower FC, a girl’s football academy, and her lifelong dream. She started playing football at 12 in boys’ teams, and she wanted to provide girls with that opportunity too. “I wanted to offer girls that experience from what I explored in my studies and travels.”
Farida attended the AUC for a couple of years studying integrated marketing communications with double minor in creative writing and psychology, then transferred to VIU in BC, Canada where she studied sport, health and physical education; her passion since she was young.
“I played in the women’s soccer team for the Canadian university, and I moved back to Cairo in 2018, and started Empower academy in 2019. Empower is going strong, we now signed with Zed Sports Club, which will hopefully bring about a new generation of female football players focusing on youth.”
“My passion is football, it’s part of everything I do; I went to AUC because they had a women’s team there. All my decisions were based on playing football, I centered my life around it. I also value education so much, I appreciate and respect academia and I’m always looking for every opportunity to further develop my education. My passion is everything related to women and sports in general, and football in specific. My degree in Canada taught me 11 different sports that I could play, referee and coach. My company is based around empowering women through sports and physical activity.
My personal or professional objective is to raise women’s engagement in sports on a global scale.”
Stumble But Don’t Fall
“As a player, we’re always challenged by the lack of opportunities and resources. Before, we didn’t have uber and needed to figure out how we’ll commute to practice and matches, which were usually at a far distance. Days were long, and hectic both in the AUC and VIU (Vancouver Island University), it was exhausting. One of the greatest challenges I faced were transforming from amateur to semi-pro level very abruptly. From a girl who played as a hobby between the ages of 12-14 in boys’ academies (Gezira Sporting Club) to a professional female athlete (Wadi Degla), it changed my entire lifestyle.
I’m trying to integrate the athlete lifestyle step by step in my academy for the players to avoid the shock. As a coach I faced the difficulty of being in a male dominated field, it’s extremely testing to prove yourself and build a reputation and credibility, I’ve been building my reputation for 14 years now. It gets rough sometimes, you need to be persistent, and tough and believe in your message to push forward and achieve something. The obstacles are endless, and I can’t do it without my support system of course, my family and friends, and professional network.”
“It took me quite a long time to develop a voice and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent.”
The reason we keep going; victories and Growth
“If you can reach one person, it’s a major win. We’re always humbled and proud of the social impact we have on the kids, it’s our foremost win. We get to be a part of someone’s development, or their lives. We’re teaching them life skills, empowering them, building their confidence, which they can use to achieve anything they yearn to achieve in life. That to me is a massive win.
I’m very lucky to go to work every day and be like “wow this is not WORK; this is LIFE played out In front of my eyes”. I love what we do in the academy, I believe in our message, and our girls, our pride and joy, these are my wins, day in day out, seeing great results and progress.
I believe you have to stay active and healthy throughout your life, I see it reflect on our girls, who want to take on the journey, and join us in coaching someday. Business wise, our biggest win is securing a partnership with zed sports club, and I believe this experience will be fruitful, I can’t wait to see magic happen; preparing the Empower FA youth players to enter the league and compete as the first-ever ZED FC ladies’ team is huge! That’s the aim.”
Me doing the FIFA sports management diploma at the moment sends a huge message to the girls that they should value their education just as their coach does. Many parents told us stories about how football indirectly affected the girls’ lives positively in education and confidence.”
Dear Women and Girls;
“Find what you love, go out there and chase it. I flew all the across the world to an island called Nanaimo just to follow my dream, just to chase the ball. I was scared at the time of my flight, but I did it any way. Say yes to every opportunity that knocks on your door, no matter how insignificant it looks.
I said yes to everything, and something leads to something else, and that leads to what you want to pursue. You can have a huge impact on someone’s life and you might not even know it. If you never try, you’ll never know, go out there, get on the experience, and see where it takes you!”
“The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.”