Aorzala "Oreo" Atmar is 16 years old and lives in California.
I was born into a family of soccer, my parents, uncles and cousins all play currently and have been playing soccer their whole lives - I already had their love of soccer for my entire life.
I started playing when I was 7 and also have a black belt in taekwondo. Once I got my black belt a few years ago, I really began to focus on soccer. I play on Impact Soccer League, an NPL team, so soccer takes up a lot of my time.
Like a lot of other girls on this team, my parents moved from Afghanistan because of the war. My mom moved to America before my dad did. My dad went to Pakistan during the war and when the war was over, returned to Afghanistan to continue his work as a doctor. When he came to America, I was born and saw him try to get his job back as a doctor in the US and fight to keep his career without having to go back to school. A lot of my drive and push to keep fighting came from watching my dad’s determination to keep his career.
I work a lot with community service, and soccer is really big here in Brentwood, so soccer is always present in my life.
When I found out I made the team, I was so excited. I found out on Father’s Day so I joked with my dad if I even needed to get him a gift, because what more could he want?
I’ve always played with Afghan soccer, it is a really big community here in California with annual tournaments and everyone got together and felt like a community again, not only were you playing soccer but you were able to speak Farsi and play soccer and have people understand you! When we get together, it’s passionate and we show that we can put the tournament together and be a community. That’s part of the reason why I’m so excited to go to the training camp with all the girls.
We all have that national heritage and that fire that we all want to represent Afghanistan and that will be nice because we all share that passion for sport and it will be amazing to come together and represent Afghanistan.
Because I live in Brentwood and don’t live in Afghanistan, I’m taking this team to represent Afghanistan in some way, and to represent it through my passion makes it even better. Even representing them through this team is a big part for me to provide a connection and feel like I’ve done something to make them proud.
My cousin played on the men’s national team, and when I knew we could do that, people from America could play, I was 13 and I really wanted to do this. I had no idea how to get there until I met Coach Haley Carter at my tournament and that was my spark, I really wanted to do this and I have my opportunity and I need to take it.