An athlete at every altitude: Soccer player Rahman discusses athletic mindset, lifestyle as fifth speaker in Panther Speaker Series


Photo credit: Lola Lamberg

The Athletic Leadership Council leads the fifth Panther Speaker Series with professional soccer player Deena Rahman. Rahman currently plays for the national Bahrain team in the middle east and owns a youth coaching academy entitled Tekkers Football Academy.

By Lola Lamberg, Editor-in-Chief

From Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania to the Dead Sea in Israel, British professional soccer player and Guinness World Record holder Deena Rahman has spread her love for soccer on an international scale. Rahman, who currently plays on the Bahrain Women’s National team and previously played for the United Kingdom, was the fifth speaker in the Athletic Leadership Council’s Panther Speaker Series. Rahman spoke to the Archer community on March 4 about her journey as a female athlete and an Equal Playing Field ambassador for girls equality in athletics.

Rahman opened her talk with discussing her personal passion and emphasizing the importance of seizing opportunities.

“I hope whatever your passion is and whatever you really enjoy doing can shape your life like football has shaped my life,” Rahman said. “If opportunities come your way, take them, embrace them and you never know where they’ll lead to.”

Rahman currently holds five Guinness World Records, including playing a soccer match at the highest recorded altitude at Mount Kilimanjaro and the lowest altitude at the Dead Sea as well as the most penalty shots taken in a 24 hour period: 7,876. Rahman discussed her life with an athletic mindset on and off the field and the range of experiences she has embarked on including coaching underprivileged girls in soccer and ultra running marathons.

“I went to Malawi in 2019 and coached village teams. We gave them [soccer] kit, which they don’t have, so that was an amazing experience for me,” Rahman explained. “I love to embrace different things so i’ve done an ultra marathon — so I ran 100 kilometers from London to Brighton. All [of my differing experiences] are coming from a mindset of embracing opportunity.”

Along with being a professional soccer player herself, Rahman also has her own coaching academy located in the Middle East called Tekkers Academy to “inspire youngsters in Bahrain to take part in sport.” Rahman also coached young girls in the country of Jordan which she noted as one of her most “rewarding” experiences.

“The fact that [the girls] were allowed to be out, playing sport and having structured coaching from us touched my heart, and it’s something that will stay with me forever,” Rahman explained. “We take it for granted that we have these opportunities but these young girls have a lot of barriers in their way that they can’t actually just go out and do some sport. Honestly, these girls loved it and it was just the best and most rewarding thing on that trip to see that we touched so many girls and allowed them to have that experience.”

Rahman concluded her discussion with the Archer community by explaining the “resilience” it takes as an athlete and human to overcome mental barriers, but she said challenges are necessary for personal growth.

“Things happen in life, it’s just how you deal with them,” Rahman said. “I’ve had a couple of injuries and a couple of things that have happened to me that made me lose confidence, and I probably didn’t have the mental strength and resilience [back then] that i have now, so if i could go back to my younger self, I would of definitely taken some of that into consideration. I’ve learned a lot from my challenges.”