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Unique Girls Program

U19 team wins the championship

Hapoel Jerusalem is the only club in the Jerusalem metropolis providing football programs for girls and women of all ages. We operate 3 professional youth teams, 6 community-based women’s teams, 22 girls’ teams within the Neighborhoods League, and beginning in the 2020-21 season, an adult women’s team. Our women’s program is supported by the US Agency of International Development (USAID).

Bridging the Gender Gap. Football in Israel is closely associated with males - perhaps due to the militarized nature of society, and the many gender-segregated elements within it (particularly in religious communities, both Jewish and Muslim). These views deter many women from participating in organized sports and discourage them from engaging in neighborhood athletic activities. Those who succeed in overcoming such obstacles often risk being labeled 'unfeminine'. Such attitudes affect the way girls and women see themselves and their own abilities and possibilities.

We at Hapoel Jerusalem aspire to break the stereotypes associating football (and sports in general) with men by bringing women's football to center stage, and by giving any girl or woman in Jerusalem the chance to play football in a professional and supportive environment. Around 400 women and girls take part in our program, with interest and demand growing rapidly.

U19 team in Tel Aviv Airport exhibition
U19 team wins the National Cup

The program includes 4 departments:

Competitive Adult Team

Our Adult team made its first appearance on the pitch on the 2020-21 season. Our first games got delayed due to the Covid-19 outbreak, but we still managed to end the year in the most satisfying way possible - a 7:0 victory that won us the ticket to the national league.

Our team was coached in its debut season by Moti Ohayon, a former defender for Hapoel Jerusalem. Our captain was the 25 years-old Ruth Pinchassi, the season’s top scorer, with 25 goals. Pinchassi, who began her career in our own Neighborhoods League, serves also as the coach of our U-11 girls team, as well as two amateur women teams.

Also this year, some of our younger adult players led a national campaign on social media against the Israeli Association’s decision to have the girls U-18 team play 9 on 9 matches (instead of 11 on 11). Our players were invited to present their case before a Knesset committee.

This incredible season was a major step on our journey to create a vibrant, wide and prosperous women's football scene in Jerusalem. We would like to thank our partners in USAID who allowed all this to happen.

Youth Department

Our U19 team - named after Shira Banki, a young girl murdered in an attack on the Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade in 2015 - won an historic championship in the 2016-17 season, and seven girls from the team were subsequently chosen to play at the Israel Football Association’s National Academy. The U14 and U11 teams are also thriving. The success of the girls department and the support from our partners led us to establish the adult professional women team in 2020-21.

Adult Women's Amateur League

Our amateur program - now including teams from six neighborhoods – offers an organized framework for women to play football. The success of this program sends a powerful message to the city of Jerusalem in terms of normalizing participation of women in 'non-traditional' roles and bringing down social barriers.

Neighborhoods League

Our flagship program, The Neighborhoods League, includes 22 girls teams with more than 300 participants. This special activity, which brings together children from all corners of Jerusalem and from various communities, creates a space for girls to play as equals, interact with each other, enjoy and develop their skills, under the guidance of professional coaches. 

We have a major partner in our women program – USAID.

The world's premier International development agency, an agency of the US government, is our partner since 2020. Together we have operated our new "Striking for Equality" program.

This agreement is a breakthrough, both in the fact that we will have US involvement at this level in Israeli sport, and in the opportunities it affords us to deepen our work in the community.

Our club and USAID share a common view of the needs and challenges of the young population of Jerusalem. Both organizations believe in the power of sport to break down boundaries and transform communities with a view to integrating populations such as young Jews and Arabs and young women into one community.

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