‘The fact we exist is huge’: Iran’s women plotting course to world stage

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Twelve years ago Kat Khosrowyar arrived in Iran on holiday. Now she’s driving a revolution in women’s football there

To say things have changed for women’s football in Iran since Katayoun Khosrowyar first arrived in the country more than 12 years ago would be as understated as the coach of the newly established under-19 side herself. Back then the 30-year-old from Oklahoma known as “Kat” arrived in Tehran on a family holiday, was scouted for Iran’s newly formed futsal team and ended up captaining the national side after moving there permanently.

“I didn’t speak the language or know anything about my culture – all I knew was that the food was really good,” Khosrowyar tells the Guardian. “Twelve years ago there were a lot of restrictions – people would ask: ‘Why do you want to play football? Just stay at home and learn to be good wives.’ But now we get lots of help from people who are outspoken about supporting women’s football.”

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