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Khamis sisters playing side by side in W-League finals

Bronit Omta

New member
Ask Sydney FC players Leena and Sham Khamis where their sporting talent came from and they can trace it exactly: their father, who played as a young man in Iraq before the sisters were born.

They report he has since hung up his boots.

"Apparently he was a good player, but we'll never know," Leena laughs.

The talented pair, who both play on the club's W-League side, grew up in Minto, in south-west Sydney, as two of six siblings in a big Assyrian family.

"We grew up watching every sport and playing every sport under the sun, pretty much," says Leena. "Backyard cricket, footy: whatever it was."

Football ended up the sport of choice for the Khamis women: In addition to the family's two Sydney FC players, sister Linda is the side's assistant coach. Sham's twin sister also played at a representative level.

A striker and a goal keeper, respectively, Leena and Sham say their positions lend themselves to a healthy amount of competition at training.

"She tries extra hard to save my shots," Leena says.

Sham admits it is "extra special" when she saves her older sister's shots.

The Sydney FC W-League side are top of the ladder coming into finals season. After losing to Melbourne City in the grand final last year, the Khamis sisters say the team are in the right headspace for a victory in the country's national women's competition.

Playing in a semi-professional league, W-League players balance three to four training sessions a week with a mix of careers, school and university commitments.

Sham, 21, finished her Bachelor of Exercise Science at WSU last year, and is starting a Masters in Exercise Physiology.

"I'd be lying if I said [studying] was easy, but I think I've always had such a busy schedule balancing training, work and education that I am sort of used to it, and willing to make sacrifices to reach my goals," she says.

Leena, 30, is an old hand in the league. Also a member of the Matildas national squad, she's one of the few W-League players to have seen the league through its nine seasons, and the only player to have done so at the one club.

"It's chalk and cheese compared from season one until now. We've got things like more TV broadcasting, a huge increase in sponsors, lots more international [players] coming in," she says.

The competition is also expanding. Starting with just eight clubs in 2008, the Western Sydney Wanderers joined in 2012, followed by Melbourne City in 2015, giving both cities two teams. After pulling out in 2009, the Central Coast Mariners have announced their intention to rejoin for the 2017-18 season.

Coming up through representative junior squads themselves, Leena and Sham know firsthand just how much the increased visibility of women's soccer in locations across Australia can affect young players.

"Ten years ago there wasn't much of a pathway for young girls growing up through the sport," Leena says. "But now we get so many fans out to our games, young girls who look up to us and aspire to play in the W-League one day."

With movements like the Matildas pay deal, the inaugural Women's AFL season and the professionalisation of women's cricket, Leena says she has hope that the league will move towards being a fully professional competition.

"It's not going to happen overnight, but it is happening."

Source --> http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/news-and-views/khamis-sisters-playing-side-by-side-in-wleague-finals-20170123-gtwu8v.html

Crocodile Bani

Active member
Being a Wanderers fan, I should be BOOOOOOOOOOING this article, but I am proud of what these Assyrian girls have achieved.  Leena scored a goal at the FIFA Women's World Cup and that is the highlight for me.