“The field is a place where I can deliver my message and hopefully keep younger generations of girls confident and motivated to continue playing a sport they love.”
Saadia is a tackle football coach, flag football coach, and high school math teacher. Previously she played on the national team as a quarterback and for the tackle football team “Montreal Blitz”. When I asked her about the challenges of her career in football she told me, “As a woman (be it Muslim or not), playing tackle football was something that one does not do. We were not the first to do so, but still, it wasn’t a mainstream sport for women. “You mean soccer?” or “Do you play lingerie football?” or “Women can’t play tackle football” were just a few of the comments that my teammates and I would hear from others. That in itself was a challenge: to change people’s perception.” Her biggest mission right now is to inspire the next generation, she told me, “Much of my life has been spent doing things that many young girls of Indian/Pakistani descent didn’t do. It was hard to relate to girls in that particular community and it was hard to relate to boys simply because I’m a girl. It was a challenge to reconcile what everyone around me wanted me to be, but I realized that it didn’t matter what everyone wanted me to be, it was important to be true to myself.” Now she hopes that by sharing her story and encouraging young girls to play sports, and actually stick with them, we’ll have more women in sports from the grassroots level to the professional level. When I asked Saadia what her proudest accomplishment is she told me, “Any time I have done anything that has made my parents proud. I don’t always succeed, but on a daily basis I do try to be a daughter they can be proud of.”
What is your favourite quality about yourself?
"I try my best to be as open minded as possible. Trying to understand a situation before making any kind of opinion or offering advice is very important to me. More candidly, I love to make people smile."