GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – After a long plane ride from Morocco, the first professional player of American football in Africa is in Green Bay.
It is Fouzia Madhoundi’s mission to break down barriers for women in sports and fight against gender inequality. In Morocco, she was studying English at a university when she heard from a friend about a team that played American football. That’s where she found her passion for it.
“I wanted to try it and I wanted to be a part of team, because I had been a part of individual teams my whole life,” Madhoundi said.
Although she loves the sport, she says she experienced discrimination from those around her because of her gender and social class.
She founded “We Can Morocco,” a program that aims to give opportunities to young Moroccan girls through American football. Last year, the program launched its first football academy.
“Football is a way… we use it as a tool to keep them having fun and keep them active and keep them in the game.”
The NFL, in collaboration with the US State Department and ESPNW, chose Madhoundi to come to Green Bay for a mentorship program.
The goal is to help her organization develop an action plan to empower girls and women through sports in Morocco.
On Wednesday, she helped run drills with Hemlock Creek Elementary students from De Pere as part of a Packers outreach program.
It was all smiles and excitement in Titletown as the kids learned all sorts of football drills, and Madhoundi was there helping them.
Madhoundi said she is learning a lot here in Green Bay and feels inspired to do more in her country.
“I just want to be hope to the girls that I have in Morocco, and especially in rural areas that I do my programs in, and normalize the right to playing for them and to not feel guilty about it.”
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