Featured image courtesy of Famatta Unmil Dean
In Africa and around the world, men dominate football and women get minimal support, in comparison. On the heels of Liberia’s First Lady becoming a Confederation of African Football (CAF) ambassador, we turn our spotlight towards one of Liberia’s hidden football gems: Famatta Unmil Dean.
Dean believes that now is one of the greatest times for women’s football in Liberia. She says, “Having our own mother as a CAF ambassador and a coach that knows more about football, I believe female football will be developed because it has been neglected in the hands of men.”
Her passion for football formed, while she was on the African Christian Fellowship International (ACFI) mission playing with the boys. Back then, Dean believed that she could become one of Liberia’s greatest female stars. Her extensive career as a central defender began in 1999 and continues to this day.
- Lioness Sisters 1999-2000
- Pointer Sisters 2000-2003
- Professional Sisters 2004-2006
- Earth Angels 2006-2009
- Blanco FC 2009-2015
- Senior Pro 2015-Present
The elite defender shares her impressive football resume. In 2006, she was called to play for the Liberia national women’s team where she had her very first opportunity to travel outside of the country to Algeria. Six years later, Dean would become the national team captain and represent Liberia in Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. She won the Best Defender award in 2013 and had the honor of becoming a 2016 CAF instructor in Cameroon.
Dean expresses her most memorable moments to include her first travel experience as a national team player raising Liberia’s flag high, becoming captain of the national team, winning the 2013 Liberia Football Association (LFA) Women’s Championship with Blanco FC, and receiving the Best Defender award.
When asked about a woman who motivates her, Dean mentions Patricia C. Kennedy. Dean looks to Kennedy, founder and captain of Lioness Sisters, as her motivator, inspiration, mentor and role model. Dean hopes women’s sports in Liberia will be taught in schools at the lower level and focus on fundamental development of the game with more support and sponsorship.
“My advice to all young players that are involved in football is that you have to create love and passion for the game no matter what and do not forget about your education. Your education comes first. After football, what you learned will surely carry you through.” – Famatta Unmil Dean
Thank you Famatta Unmil Dean for your dedication to women sports in Liberia. We honor you and your contributions and join with all Liberians to say “Job well done!”
Famatta Unmil Dean, is an all rounder when it comes to sports. I have had the pleasure of witnessing her exploits firsthand when she represented Liberia in Beach volleyball in Sierra Leone and of course her dominance on the local kickball scene. I am grateful that you have finally been given some of the recognition that you so much deserve. Go Team Liberia, i say kudos to you and keep up the good work.