Kuwaiti graduate from Carnegie Mellon Qatar leads women’s football in historic success
Originally published in Bazaar Magazine, June 2023.
Kuwait’s Sara AlKhaled leads as captain and coach in historic back-to-back wins in Qatar
The Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) women’s football team has finished off a historic season with back-to-back wins in inter-university tournaments led by Sara AlKhaled, who graduated with a degree in business administration from CMU-Q, a Qatar Foundation partner university.
“I played football as soon as I was old enough to kick a ball. I played in my grandmother’s backyard and in P.E. class. Any chance I could get, I wanted to play football,” said Sara, who joined the team in 2019 when she was a first-year student at CMU-Q.
After the pandemic put team sports on hiatus in Qatar’s Education City, the team came back together in August. This was also during Sara’s final year at the university. Looking back, she knew that she could get the job done, saying “This was the first time I captained a team. We had a hard time finding a coach, so I decided that I was up for that challenge.” Serving as both the captain and the coach of the team, she was on a mission to put women’s sports at CMU-Q on the map.
Sara already knew what the priority was in terms of obstacles to tackle. “We had to find ways to increase engagement. Some team members didn’t see the potential in themselves and so we worked with them and I am so proud of how each member rose to the challenge,” she said looking back at the accomplishments.
The team took part in the Qatar Foundation Student Life tournament and fought their way to the first victory for a CMU-Q women’s team in campus history. That was just the beginning of their success as they went on to win the Education City Women’s Football Championship in a very close final match against Georgetown.
“This was a celebration of women’s athletics. We also played the American University of Afghanistan, who just moved to Education City and only recently formed a team. All of us who played felt a huge sense of teamwork and togetherness,” added Sara.
Sara graduated from CMU-Q in May and plans to return to Kuwait. “I can’t express how bittersweet it is to graduate. Kuwait is my home, but I will miss CMU-Q so much. The football success was the cherry on top of my undergraduate experience,” concluded Sara.