Breaking Down Barriers Through Football

Aminah DinOutline: GCU students continue to demonstrate leadership in proactively promoting gender equality and race equality. Aminah Din, who is studying a BA in Accountancy, is one of Scottish football’s rising stars and is helping kick down cultural barriers by coaching other Asian girls in the sport.

Benefits and impact: Aminah, who started playing at the age of five, plays for SEMSA (Scottish Ethnic Minorities Sports Association) regularly and coaches eight- to 15-year-old girls – largely from Glasgow’s Asian community – every summer.

Aminah said: “I am happiest when I am on the football pitch. Starting out in football was hard as people didn’t have high expectations of what I could do and I got a few odd looks - I was the only girl on the school football team and, on top of that, I was an Asian girl.  Even now it is uncommon for Asian women to play.”

“We play regularly in tournaments but it’s more about having fun and keeping fit than competition,” she said. “Football can break down barriers, that’s why I love coaching other Asian girls. Some have never played before so I can be teaching them the very basics. Lots of the girls keep it up. So many of them remind me of myself. Some members of the community thought it was weird for someone like me to be playing competitively, but my own family has been incredibly supportive. Now, I can show other girls what I have achieved – it’s who I am.”

Aminah was named Scottish Women in Sports’ Role Model of the Year in November, and has now been nominated for a national newspaper award in recognition of her pivotal role in inspiring and coaching young football fans. She will find out in April if she has won the Diversity category in The Sunday Mail’s Young Scot Awards.

Aminah still has no idea who nominated her for the Sunday Mail Award. “The nomination is so unexpected – it’s really great and I feel I have already achieved something,” she said. “My family is so proud. I hope I can inspire more Asian girls to take up the sport. I have been compared to the girl in Bend it Like Beckham and it’s true. I’m delighted to be nominated but the award itself is just a title, the main purpose is to raise awareness and get people into sport.