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Empowering girls around the world through the beautiful game

Girls playing soccer (football) on concrete, under a roof

Jaqueline Leon plays soccer at the EORM Chuisactol primary school in Guatemala, 2018. Photo: Nancy Farese/CARE

Jaqueline Leon plays soccer at the EORM Chuisactol primary school in Guatemala, 2018. Photo: Nancy Farese/CARE

The 2023 Women's World Cup is a monumental event that not only showcases the talent and determination of women in sports, but also serves as a beacon of hope and empowerment for girls everywhere.

CARE was founded in 1945 with the introduction of the original CARE Package. Today, CARE works to end poverty and injustice in 111 countries worldwide.

We put women and girls at the center of our work, because we know that we can’t overcome poverty until all people have equal rights and opportunities.

Over the years, we’ve seen one of the most effective tools to engage women and girls has been the power of sports, so, to celebrate the start of the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup — on pace to be the most-attended women’s sporting event ever — we’ve put together this collection of inspiring photos we’ve taken over the years of young girls from around the world playing the beautiful game.

As you journey through these images, you’ll see the joy, resilience, and strength of these young athletes, reminding us of the limitless potential that lies within every girl.

Join us as we cheer on the women from around the world playing in the World Cup, and as we continue our mission to create a world where every girl has the opportunity to be a champion.

Two girls playing informal soccer outdoors.
Ala, 11, a Syrian refugee, plays soccer with her sister Areej, 7, in front of their caravan in the Azraq Camp in Jordan. "I want to be a lawyer to defend the weak," Ala says. She loves playing soccer in the streets with her siblings, neighbors, and friends. "Sometimes, I'm even better than the boys." Photo: Nadia Bseiso/CARE
Bangladeshi girl playing informal soccer with a man.
Anannya, 16, in red, lives in a small village of Pirgacha in Bangladesh, where traditionally girls did not play outdoor sports. Photo: Mohammad Hasan Zobayer/CARE
Girls playing informal soccer in an open-air indoor space.
Jaqueline (left, in purple), is head of the student government and also a soccer star. Photo: Nancy Farese/CARE
Portrait of young girl with makeshift soccer ball (football.)
Chrissy loves to play soccer in her Malawi village in 2017. Chrissy was photographed as part of the #DreamWithHer project. Photo: Kate Crosby/CARE
A group of girls playing soccer on a grassy field.
The girls soccer team in Kenya's Kibera Hamlet was composed of 25 girls aged 12-25 and was put together as part of the CARE program Sport for Change. Photo: Tim Freccia/CARE
Girl playing soccer on a dirt field with two boys
Mary, 16, and her two younger brothers used to live in South Sudan, but because of the war, they have sought refuge in Northern Uganda, where they now live in Imvepi camp, where they have received support from CARE community volunteers. Photo: Jakob Dall/CARE
A boy plays informal soccer with two girls
Students exercise in the gardens and fields at the CEB Max Martinez Zambrano school in Honduras, in November 2022. Supported by CARE and Cargill, this model school in El Porvenir offers instruction in nutrition, hygiene, health, and fitness. Photo: Laura Noel/CARE

If you’ve been moved by the incredible spirit and determination of these young girls and women in the world of sports, imagine the impact we can create together in other areas of their lives.

Explore more of CARE’s programs and join us in our mission to empower women and, bringing them closer to a future of equality, opportunity, and hope.

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