Iranians love soccer so much, they say it’s in their DNA. But for women, it’s been nearly impossible to play the game because of modesty laws introduced in 1979 when the Islamic Republic was born.
Credit: 60 Minutes Sports
Female athletes are required to wear uniforms that conform to Iran’s Islamic modesty laws, including headscarves known as hijabs.
Pictured here: Members of Iran’s 16-and-under national girls’ team.
Credit: Alexandra Poolos
Men and women are also not allowed to attend public stadium matches, like soccer games, together.
Pictured here: Members of a women’s league team from Bam, Iran.
But now, as Lesley Stahl reports for 60 Minutes Sports, a revolution is underway, led by female warriors with a powerful weapon: the soccer ball.
Pictured here: Maral Torkaman, a member of Iran’s 16-and-under national girls’ team.
Correspondent Lesley Stahl, center, traveled to Iran to meet with Katayoun “Kat” Khosrowyar, one of the women fostering the growth of Iran’s youth soccer program.
Kat is a 29-year-old, American-born woman, a soccer star herself, whose aim is to spread and elevate the sport for women around the country.
Pictured here: 60 Minutes Sports producer Alexandra Poolos, center, Lesley Stahl, left, and coach Kat Khosrowyar in Tehran.
Kat played for the Iranian women’s national team for several years, and now, along with other coaches, trains young players in the burgeoning girls’ professional youth soccer program.
Young female athletes live and train for two months a year in Iran’s national soccer facility in Tehran.
Soccer players from Iran’s 16-and-under national girls’ team meet ahead of a match.
The girls play a game against adults, some of whom were on the former national team.
At 14 years old, Maral Torkaman, center, is one of the team’s youngest players.
Maral is the daughter of Reza Torkaman, a former soccer player, who trained his daughter, but is not allowed to watch her compete.
“Because of some of the limits at the moment in Iran, I can’t [watch my daughter play], but hopefully I can come watch her someday,” Torkaman told Lesley Stahl.
60 Minutes Sports was granted special permission to film inside Iran’s famed Azadi Stadium -- one of the rare times women have been allowed to enter.
Pictured from left: Cameraman Bob Goldsborough, producer Alexandra Poolos, soccer coach Kat Khosrowyar, associate producer Jack Weingart, and audio engineer Lupe Mejia.
Stahl’s report, “Revolution in Iran,” airs on 60 Minutes Sports on Showtime.
Credit: Jack Weingart