Skip to content

Meet the Somali Footballer Breaking Barriers

Football has never been just a hobby for Jawahir Roble; it’s her passion. Born in Somalia, the 25-year-old grew up playing football with friends. They would spend almost every waking minute kicking a ball around the beaches until their parents called them in for dinner. She loved it. She loved her “beautiful” country. But civil war changed all that. No longer safe in their own home, Roble’s family fled to England when she was just 10 years old. Despite her parents both being football fans, neither were particularly comfortable with their daughter pursuing any career in the sport over her academic studies. It led Roble to practice in secret, quickly changing out of her football gear whenever she returned home from playing with her friends. After dropping out of university while studying IT, Roble returned to study Football Coaching and Management. From there, she volunteered at a local club and, by chance, was asked to referee a small game out of necessity. She’s never looked back. She now referees both men and women up to five times a day in the lower ranks of English football and has become the UK’s first Muslim female referee. The 25-year-old now has dreams of refereeing some of the world’s most prestigious leagues and tournaments.