30 Under 30: Aminah DinWritten by The Young Women's Movement
If you haven’t already, you should Google Aminah Din. Go ahead, we’ll wait!
If you actually found yourself taking directions from a blog post, then you, too, probably found a whole bunch of Bend it Like Beckham references. And with good reason! The similarities are pretty major: a young Asian woman with a serious love for football who comes from a community that doesn’t always support that love.
But unlike Bend it Like Beckham’s Jess, Aminah told The Daily Record that even if some members of the community weren’t on board, her parents always had her back.
‘My mum and dad were incredibly supportive and drove me to matches but some members of the community thought it was odd for someone like me to be playing competitive football. Football has the ability to break down barriers and that’s why I am coaching others. There are a lot of talented Asian girls out there just waiting to be discovered.’
The 19 year-old, from Glasgow, started playing at the young age of five, and her parents were so supportive they even fibbed about her age to get her in to the summer camps a few years early. ‘You had to be eight years old to attend the summer camps but my dad used to lie about my age so I got to go at just six,’ she says. ‘Even then, I was holding my own against boys much older than me on the pitch.’
And since then she’s done more than just hold her own. Aminah started training with the Scottish Ethnic Minority Sports Association (SEMSA) through the Scottish Women’s Active Pathways project. The project was created to encourage black, Asian, and ethnic minority women to get involved in sport, starting with football.
Aminah knows too well that the barriers to BAME women come from all sides. At school, even on the girls’ team, she wasn’t necessarily always welcome.
‘They treated me like an outcast as though I couldn’t play as well as them because I’m Pakistani. They became aggressive and very violent towards me. Once they realised I can play just as well as them, they soon started to back down.’
Through her involvement with SWAP, Aminah started playing tournaments across the country, and at one tournament in 2014, she was named Most Valuable Player. Didn’t take long before she was getting the chance to train with the Rangers’ Girls team. She told Scottish Women in Sport that she was the only Asian there.
Not content just to be a complete star on the pitch, Aminah studies Accountancy at Glasgow Caledonian University and is an SFA qualified coach and focuses on inspiring other Asian women to take up the sport. Her successes (and they are many!) can help encourage others to follow in her steps.
‘Sometimes it’s hard to show [people] that my skin colour doesn’t affect my skills. I’m just as good as any other player.’
This year she was a YoungScot Awards finalist for Diversity, following up on a Scottish Women in Sports Role Model of the Year award last year and a Scottish Asian Sportswoman of the Year award in 2014.
Her trophy shelf must be packed, but if that trend keeps up we see many more awards in Aminah’s future!