Katayoun Khosrowyar wins WSU Coach Award, Presented by TeamSnap.
For the first time, the WSU Coach Award went on a global search for inspirational coaches involved in women and girl’s football!
This resulted in a number of nominations highlighting the wonderful work keeping our game developing by the dedicated and passionate coaches all playing their individual part in the evolvement of the game.
Kat was one of three finalists alongside Anouk Bruil and Liga Patupa, with the public vote deciding the overall winner.
1ST – Kat 56%
2nd – Anouk Bruil 27%
3rd – Liga Patupa 17%
Thank you to everyone for your nominations and votes, now it’s time to get to know YOUR winner of The WSU Coach Award Presented by TeamSnap, Katayoun Khosrowyar!
Katayoun Khosrowyar Interview on Women’s Soccer United.
It is with great honour to be able to give recognition and award to Kat, whose work is simply described as absolutely sensational. Kat is an Iranian-American bringing her own “revolution” to Iran. It is a beautiful story that has allowed her to shape the national landscape of Iranian women’s football. At 2014, she was the first Iranian women to have earned a FIFA/AFC “A” licence which she has used to empower women and inspire many girls to pursue their dream of playing football. Surrounded by political interferences and barriers, Kat has opened up many doors for future generations of girls through her sheer tenacity and persistence – a few of Kat’s players have received offers from European football clubs. Kat’s role includes managing the Iran senior women’s national team, the U-19 Iran side and advising the U-16/U14 side.
We spoke to Kat about what it means for her to be voted the WSU Coach Award Presented by TeamSnap, what motivated her to start a career in coaching and her future aspirations.
Women’s Soccer United: Firstly, congratulations on being voted the 2018 WSU Coach Award Presented by TeamSnap. What does it mean to be given this global recognition for the work you do, voted by the public?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: It means all the hard work has finally paid off! The global football community has acknowledged that women’s football in Iran is on the rise and this award will put Iran in the spotlight and hopefully the managing bodies will support it even more. I don’t think anyone would have thought the Iranian U19 National Team Coach would win this, but it is a great honour and I am looking forward to the next steps in my coaching career.
Women’s Soccer United: Could you tell us what motivated you to begin a career in coaching and how did the opportunity to lead the Iran Women’s National Team present itself to you?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: When I was a player for the Iranian national team I witnessed how unfair we were being treated internationally and especially being disqualified from participating in the pre-Olympic qualifications. I remember promising myself I would never allow another girl feel embarrassed the way me and my teammates felt after that horrible FIFA ruling. I wanted to train the Iranian girls so well that they have a platform to prove the world that they are qualified to play in high levels.
I was the assistant coach for 4 years for the U14, U16 and Senior National team and the federation felt that I was ready to take on the role as Head Coach.
Women’s Soccer United: How did it feel to become the first Iranian woman to earn a FIFA/AFC “A” licence?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: I felt like I paved a path for the rest of the Iranian women to do the same. I wanted to show not only them but the rest of Asia that Iranian women are capable of reaching high levels when it comes to coaching.
Women’s Soccer United: It is described in your nomination that you have faced political interferences and barriers. Could you share with us some of the greatest challenges you have had to face and how you were able to overcome them?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: In 2011 we were disqualified from the 2nd round of pre-Olympic qualifications due to the hijab ban. The entire national team was put down by the FIFA ruling and it took almost 3 years to get the permission to play again. We started several international campaigns and the international football community supported us a lot throughout the process.
Women’s Soccer United: What would you say has been your greatest success to date?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: March 2018, after 2 months of training a new U19 team we travelled to Sochi, Russia where we competed against Russia, North Korea and Romania. All of these teams were in a completely different level and had a better FIFA ranking. We played so well and I was so proud of them for being able to learn fast and play exactly how we trained. We ended up getting 3rd place in my first tournament as Head Coach.
Women’s Soccer United: What part of your job are you most proud of?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: I am still rather new as Head Coach for the U19 team but what I can say for now is that my assistants and myself have put a lot of effort in making sure the girls are continually learning and training even when they are not in camp. We have built an online community for the girls so they get exposure to training, workouts done by professionals outside of Iran and healthy lifestyle eating habits to be able to mimic and come up with their own style of training and healthy habits. Some girls live in rural areas in Iran and to see them get permission to train on grass fields from the community and to have their brothers and fathers supporting them has proved to me that football can change the lifestyle of these girls for the better. I get daily updates on what they eat and on their training and all of them have become very creative!
So overall I think I am proud of being able to give the right tools to the girls so they can create awareness in their communities that women football is on the rise.
Women’s Soccer United: You recently led Iran in the U17 TorneoDelleNazioni where you faced USA, Slovenia and Italy& Russia in Group A. What are your thoughts on your team’s performance and what lessons were learned?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: The U17 team was set up in less than a month before this tournament and for some of the girls it was their first time leaving the country. Our first game was less than 24 hours after we arrived in Italy against the U.S and the girls were extremely nervous but at the same time wanted to play good, but unfortunately,they lost but learned a lot. This tournament was an eye opener for all the players and showed them the highest standards of the game and with the short amount of time that we trained together. I am still proud of them for fighting as hard as they could. Now that the girls have returned they have been training every day and have shown me that they want to make a difference for women’s football in Iran.
Women’s Soccer United: How has the development of women/girl’s football progressed since you first became head coach and what still needs to be done in order to further improve and create more opportunities?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: I have seen an influx of players wanting to be invited to the national team camp and also a lot of male coaches becoming trainers for female football players. In my opinion there needs to be a youth league so the girls can get more exposure to matches and not suddenly walk into the Asian qualification matches.
Women’s Soccer United: What would be your advice to anyone who has a dream of playing or coaching women and girls football?
• As a coach you have to be a strong role model that has a positive attitude even during the tough moments. The players are watching your every move and if they see that you’re not confident or strong they too will not be confident and strong. Also, train like you’re playing a real match, meaning give 100%.
• Preparation is key. Make sure that you have a short term and long-term plan with what you are going to coach and how.
• Delegate work to your assistants!
• As a player watch as many games as possible and analyse. Proper training that is football related is a must, meaning anything you do in training will have to mirror what you would really do in a match.
Women’s Soccer United: What is next for you and your team?
Katayoun Khosrowyar: We are preparing for 2 rounds of Asian qualifications. If we win the first round then we enter the 2nd round leading to the championship. If we become top 3 then we will enter the world cup. The first round will be in Myanmar end of October and we will be playing against Myanmar, Laos and Palestine.
Congratulations Kat! Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions.