Behind the Facemask: Never Underestimate Fouzia Madhouni and the Heart of a Champion

Fouzia Madhouni grew up in Sale, Morocco and discovered football when she saw a picture on Instagram of girls playing football with helmets. She was intrigued from the start as it was a strange sight for someone from her country. She looked around her local area to find other females that played but couldn’t find anything. Fouzia found a men’s team called the Rabat Lions that happened to already have a few women. They tried to start a female team from that group but it folded after a couple of months due to lack of support.

Fouzia started playing linebacker her first season but now plays running back. This is her 2nd season playing. The Seattle Seahawks are her favorite NFL team and she tries to the run the ball like retired Marshawn Lynch.


Fouzia has faced many obstacles so far in her career, namely her weight. This is a common occurrence for any female in this world to have to face an “ideal standard” of what we should look like. The great thing about football is that you literally need all sizes on the field to compete. Women’s football is fascinating because women with size are actually celebrated which is a first for many of them. Men are taught that they can be athletes even with size. Women are often not. For a lot of them, it’s the first time they look at their size as an asset. You also will find the same dynamic with smaller women as they feel like they are too small to compete until they find out it’s about technique rather than size.


Football gives women of all sizes a platform to succeed. Fouzia struggled with her weight and felt teased and nearly quit due to some of the harassment. But her coach Tarik and her supportive family would not let her quit. They supported her and “brought out that beast inside of me.” She lost nearly 10kg, that’s 22 pounds for my American friends, and gained speed.


Football has taught Fouzia to never underestimate anyone because inside all of us is a champion waiting to be formed. Her proudest moment was when she was able to face the girls who had teased her about her weight in a camp with Italian coaches and she played so well she won an award as the MVP of the camp.

Her funniest moment was when she went to camp after a ceremony at her house where she was wearing a dress and the coaches thought she was going to cheer the boys team until she pulled out her old dirty cleats. This reminds me greatly of my old teammate Regan who was a pageant winner and would literally come to the field from an event in expensive evening gowns, right to the field to change before a game. Never underestimate anyone. You never really know.

Because the people around her wouldn’t let her quit, she now started her own female football team in the area, the Jaguars. The hardest part of that is the lack of resources for equipment. Morocco doesn’t seem to have a local source of that equipment and trying to order it online can prove difficult due to shipment restrictions and cost. Their biggest current need is helmets and shoulder pads.

If you or anyone you know has international equipment connections, please feel free to contact me directly at:


In the meantime, I have set up a gofundme account in their honor. Feel free to donate to it and it will go directly to them. Eventually it will be my goal to set up some sort of program to help international teams with equipment but for now this will be a start.

Never underestimate the heart of a champion as Coach Rudy T once said after his Houston Rockets won the NBA Title.


You can follow Fouzia on:

Facebook: Fouzia Madhouni

Instagram: Fouzia Madhouni


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