The Jordan Women's National Football Team has come a long way to get to the point where they are now. The heart of the team is formed by the very women, now only 30 years old, who were the first to play professional football in Jordan in 2005. At that time, football was generally not considered a sport suitable for girls in Jordans conservative society. Through perseverance and will power and with the support of their parents and HRH Prince Ali Bin Hussein, the women pursued what they love, challenged popular gender perceptions in Jordan and transformed their society. 13 years later, in 2018, girls playing football is considered as normal.
Text Victoria Schneider

 
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Jordanian Forward Anfal Al-Sufy, 22, is preparing green almonds and Askadinya (Loquats), literally translated as the best in the world, she brought from her mothers garden to the training session of the Jordanian National Football team on March 29, 2018 at King Abdullah Stadium in Amman, Jordan. Al-Sufy is from a village in the outskirts of Amman, where a girl playing football was not regarded as appropriate when she was young. 

 
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The Captain of the Jordanian Womens National Football Team, Stephanie AlNaber, 30, is seen sprinting to warm up prior a test match against Jordans U-15 Men's Team on March 31, 2018 at Petra Stadium in King Hussein Youth City in Amman, Jordan. AlNaber is one of the pioneers who started professional womens football in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

 
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Two girls playing for the U-15 team of the Jordanian Football Club Shabaab Al Ordon watch their training session on April 3, 2018 in South Amman, Jordan. Girls football has progressed significantly in the past 13 years ever since the first national womens team was founded in 2005. Shabaab Al Ordon was the second club in Jordan to have a girls team in 2004. Now, there are teams for all age groups as well as a football academy raising the next generations of women players.

 
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Players of the Jordanian Womens National Football Team are celebrating the birthday of their manager and friend Sawsan Al Hasaseen after a training session at King Abdullah II Stadium in Amman, on March 29, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. 

 
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Boys play football at the Amman Citadel the highest hill in the Jordanian capital where ancient roman ruins attract many tourists near downtown Amman on March 27, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. While men's football is still the number one sport in Jordan, the game has become more and more popular among girls, especially after Jordan hosted the U-17 World Cup two years ago. 

 
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Jordanian National Forward Mai Sweilem (C), 22, is listening to Coach Michael Dickey and his assistant Jorge Cruz (L) during halftime of a test match against Jordans Men's U-15 team on March 31, at Petra Stadium in King Hussein Youth City, Amman, Jordan. Sweilem started playing at a young age and is among the girls who have seen female football evolve in Jordan. 

 
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Players of the Jordanian Womens National Football team are listening to their Coach Michael Dickey (not seen) during a half time of a friendly match against Jordans Men's U-15 team on March 31, Amman, Jordan.  

 
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A billboard of Jordanian National Player Tala Al Barghouti at the 2nd Circle is seen on April 5, in Amman, Jordan. The giant advertisement is one of 26 pictures depicting each Jordanian national football player reads Because she is the hope of the future - support her and is part of the AFC Asian Cups Marketing Campaign to support the National Team during the tournament hosted in Amman.

 
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Jordanian National Midfielder Anfal Al Sufy, 22, and her mother on April 1, 2018, in their relatives home in Jabal AlHadid, Amman. Al-Sufy is from a village in the outskirts of Amman, where a girl playing football was not regarded as appropriate when she was a child. In rural Jordan, traditional gender stereotypes exist until today. But with the support of their mother, Anfal and her older sister Ayah, who recently had to stop playing because of a knee injury, defied the gender perceptions and kept playing. 

 
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A picture of Jordanian National Defender Shorooq Al Shathly, 31, seen in her room in Al Marqab, Amman on March 30, 2018. Al Shathly is one the first women who started playing football in Jordan and one of the key players in the team. It is the first time Jordan is hosting the qualifying tournament for the FIFA World Cup.

 
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Jordanian National Defender Shorooq Al Shathly, 31, is sitting on her bed in her home on March 30, in Al Marqab, Amman, Jordan, one week before the opening game of the AFC Asian Cup 2018 which takes place in Jordan. Al Shathly is one of the pioneers who started playing football in Jordan who form the heart of the current national team. 

 
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Jordanian National Defender Rozbahan Frej, 18, is sitting in her room in her familys house on April 1, in Amman, Jordan. Frej is one of the youngest players in the national team which is host to the AFC Asian Cup this month. If it wasnt for some of her teammates, Frejs career might have taken a different path.

 
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Girl of the Jordanian Football Club Shabaab Al Ordon kicks the ball during the training session on April 3, 2018 in South Amman, Jordan. Girls football has progressed significantly in the past 13 years ever since the first national womens team was founded in 2005. Shabaab Al Ordon was the second club in Jordan to have a girls team in 2004. Now, there are teams for all age groups as well as a football academy raising the next generations of women players. 

 
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Players of the Jordanian national womens football team are getting ready for a training session on April 5, 2018 at Petra Stadium in King Hussein Youth City, Amman, Jordan. They have just received their new kits - womens cut, for the first time. Before, none of the big brands had been catering for female football teams in the Middle East.

 
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Jordanian National Forward Anfal Al-Sufy, 22, showing the tattoo on her right forearm which reads: My love is only to my mum, zayna barto, football prior the training session of the Jordanian National Football team on March 29, 2018 at King Abdullah Stadium in Amman, Jordan. It describes the most important things in her life, first and foremost her mother who has supported her playing football despite the criticism of the society. Al-Sufy is from a village in the outskirts of Amman, where a girl playing football was not regarded as appropriate when she was young. 

 
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Jordanian National Midfielder Shahnaaz Jebreen, 25, smiles with her sister Lojain Jebreen, on March 30, 2018 in their home in Amman, Jordan, one week before Jordan is hosting the AFC Asian Cup 2018. Jebreen belongs to the first generation of women football players in Jordan.

 
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A girl playing for the U-15 team of the Jordanian Football Club Shabaab Al Ordon catches one of the players of the A-Team for a selfie after their training session on April 3, 2018 in South Amman, Jordan. Girls football has progressed significantly in the past 13 years ever since the first national womens team was founded in 2005. Shabaab Al Ordon was the second club in Jordan to have a girls team in 2004. Now, there are teams for all age groups as well as a football academy raising the next generations of women players. 

 
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A fan of the Jordanian Womens Football Team is getting the Jordanian flag painted on his face while standing in line to enter Amman Stadium the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup between Jordan and the Philippines on April 6, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. It is the first time Jordan is hosting the qualifying tournament for the FIFA World Cup. 

 
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Jordans Forward Sarah Abu Sabbah, 18, is showing her shinguards after a test match against Jordans U-15 on March 31, at Petra Stadium in King Hussein Youth City, Amman, Jordan. Abu Sabbah came to join her team from Germany, where she plays for Bayer 04 Leverkusen, in order to compete in the AFC Asian Cup which is hosted in Jordan this April.

 
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Players of the Jordanian Womens National Football team are listening to their Coach Michael Dickeys (not seen) analysis of a friendly match they played the night before against Jordans U-15, on April 1, 2018 in the locker room at the Polo Field in Hussein Youth City Amman Jordan. It was the last match before the AFC Asian Cup, which for the first time in its history is taking place in Jordan this month.

 
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Jordanian substitutes are standing at the edge of the pitch during their national anthem before the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup at Amman Stadium between Jordan and the Philippines on April 6, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. It is the first time Jordan is hosting the qualifying tournament for the FIFA World Cup. 

 
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Jordanian Midfielder Shahnaaz  Jebreen #16, 25, is tackling several Philippine players in the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup between Jordan and Philippines at Amman Stadium on April 6, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. Jordan losing 1:3 in the first game minimised their chances to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2019 in France. 

 
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Jordanian and Philippine players arrive prior the opening match of AFC Asian Cup at Amman Stadium between Jordan and Philippines on April 6, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. Jordan losing 1:3 in the first game minimised their chances to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2019 in France.

 
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Jordans national teams substitutes watching in shock as the Philippines strike the lead goal against Jordan in the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup at Amman Stadium between Jordan and Philippines on April 6, 2018. Jordan losing 1:3 in the first game minimised their chances to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2019 in France. It is the first time Jordan is hosting the qualifying tournament for the FIFA World Cup. 

 
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Jordanian Forward Maysa Jbarah #10 celebrates after scoring first a goal at the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup between Jordan and Philippines at Amman Stadium on April 6, 2018 in Amman, Jordan, where Jordan aimed to qualify for the World Cup in France 2019. Jordan losing 1:3 in the first game minimised their chances to qualify and shattered the dream of the pioneer players like AlShathly and Jbarah who started womens football in the country in 2005. 

 
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A player for the U-15 team of the Jordanian Football Club Shabaab Al Ordon is doing her homework during her teams training session on April 3, 2018 in South Amman, Jordan. She broke her arm in the last match and accompanies her sister who also plays in the team. Girls football has progressed significantly in the past 13 years ever since the first national womens team was founded in 2005. Shabaab Al Ordon was the second club in Jordan to have a girls team in 2004. Now, there are teams for all age groups as well as a football academy.

 
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Three siblings are walking around Amman Stadium to watch the opening match of the AFC Asian Cup at Amman Stadium between the Jordanian National Womens Football Team and the Philippines on April 6, 2018 in Amman, Jordan. It is the first time Jordan is hosting the qualifying tournament for the FIFA Womens World Cup. Womens football has made huge progress in the last years.  It is the first time Jordan is hosting the qualifying tournament for the FIFA World Cup.