Around the World in Women's Soccer: Jordan Women's Pro League
Around the World in Women's Soccer is a series that explores women's soccer in other countries. Each country will get two stories: The first will explore the country's national team, while the second will explore the country's domestic league.
In October 2019, the Jordanian Women's Pro League went viral. In a meeting between Amman SC and Shabab Al-Ordon, players were fighting for the ball when one Amman SC player's hijab started slipping off her head. Women who wear the hijab are never supposed to remove it in public, so when the Shabab Al-Ordon players noticed the problem, they surrounded her, shielding her from public view. Five players huddled tightly together in a video that was shared across social media as an example of sportsmanship and kindness.
Many of the people sharing the video probably didn't realize that they were looking at the top two women's clubs in Jordan. Or that the players who surrounded the Amman SC player -- Stephanie Al-Naber, Hiba Fakherdine, Shorooq Shathli, Yasmeen Khair and Noor Zoqash -- are trailblazers for women's soccer in Jordan.
Club soccer for women in Jordan has not always been a given. The Women's Pro League is a relatively new development -- prior to 2019, Jordanian clubs played in a tournament in which seven clubs played a total of 21 games. In the Pro League, those same seven clubs play 42 games in two stages. Shabab Al-Ordon and Amman SC were tied on points at the top of the league in its inaugural season, with Shabab ultimately winning the tiebreaker match and the title.
In addition to the Women's Pro League, Jordanian clubs also play in the Women's Jordan Cup. Shabab Al-Ordon and Amman SC also competed for this title in 2019, and once again Shabab Al-Ordon came out on top with a 1-0 win. That same year, Shabab won the West Asian Football Federation Women's Championship, facing the best clubs from Bahrain, Lebanon, Palestine and the United Arab Emirates.
It is clear that Amman SC and Shabab Al-Ordon are the top clubs in Jordan. In the most recent national team call-ups, eight players were from Shabab Al-Ordon, while three players came from Amman SC. Shabab is particularly well-respected for its youth development system; in addition to the senior women's team, Shabab has U-15, U-17 and U-19 women's teams and an academy for girls.
The Jordanian Women's Pro League is still in its infancy. But there are plenty of reasons to be optimistic. Samer Nassar, the Jordanian Olympic swimmer who organized the U-17 Women's World Cup in 2016, points out that women's soccer really only started in Jordan fifteen years ago with the creation of the national team. "From zero to where they are today is truly an achievement."