242: Fouzia Madhouni Podcast
In today’s episode of the ‘Finding your Summit’ podcast, host Mark Pattison, former NFL Player, Entrepreneur, Philanthropist, and Mountaineer who has climbed the Seven Summits, talks with guest, Fouzia Madhouni, American Football Player and Founder of ‘We Can Morocco’. She is the first Moroccan being invited to the Super Bowl by the NFL. Fouzia shares her journey of playing football—from being in a male-dominated country, how she battled poverty, gender discrimination, and breast cancer while finding a new way.
- 02:39 – Mark inquires of Fouzia how she ever made the connection between being in a country that is probably more male-dominated, that’s got no football to something that she wanted to do?
- 04:28 – Fouzia states that the NFL International supported them, and hopefully they will be supporting them in some projects.
- 06:00 – Fouzia points out that football in Morocco is not so popular because most people still confuse it with rugby.
- 08:37 – They are trying to balance between education and sports, so in the future, they can go somewhere, says Fouzia.
- 12:31 – Everybody was freaking out because everybody was like, this is a dream for every American—imagine that you are an African person and you’re going to Super Bowl.
- 14:05 – Mark asks what it was like when Fouzia first heard the news that she had breast cancer.
- 16:38 – Mark says that Fouzia was living in a male-dominated country, she was taking the sport that nobody had played, and now making it available for all the kids, and they’re having such a great time with it.
- 18:00 – Fouzia shares that her short-term goal is to make Academies all over Morocco and to make them accessible to everyone.
- 19:15 – Fouzia’s movie name is ‘We Can Fouzia Madhouni’.
- 20:25 – It’s just a dream coming true, and Fouzia is so happy to share her story with people—and also with the youth here because they know that somebody came from that and is now achieving something, so they can believe in their dreams.
Three Key Points
- Fouzia explains that the ‘We Can Morocco’ organization seeks to promote American Football and make it accessible to everyone with no resources. It’s not only for people who can play. Their main goal now is to make those kids participate in the World Games. Maybe when it’s possible, maybe some of them are going to have scholarships and some of them are going to make it to the NFL. They built the first Academy, and this month they are opening the second one—and they’re going to open Academies all over Morocco, because there is no football youth in Morocco. They are the ones who created the first Academy in Morocco to educate through American football, which is to make the kids well-educated as well as be elite athletes on the field.
- Fouzia was nominated by the US Embassy in Morocco to be one of the people who can represent Morocco in a program—which is a global sports mentoring program—and her mentors were from Gatorade. They were mentoring her the whole three months, and during those three months, they did their best to link her with the NFL. So, during that program, was introduced to the NFL. They were trying to help her organization. They were trying to help American Football in Morocco. She never thought that it was going to be her going out there and attending the Super Bowl.
- During that sickness, she couldn’t go out and was just at home. So, she had been trying to see football from another perspective. She thought that she could not play football, but she could do something with it. Then she chose to coach football and also be an entrepreneur with football—so, she became a Social Entrepreneur. She started advocating for girls to educate through American football as well as the youth in her community. She feels that anything happens for a reason as she can see. She will never play professional football, but she can do a lot with football.
“Our connections are through the NFL.” – Mark Pattison
“It took me a while to be part of that team and I enjoyed the journey, but always the lack of the games, the attention to women, that was what did bother me mostly.” – Fouzia Madhouni
“We had our first game with the male team because the girls didn’t show up, and we had a game against the boys in Morocco.” – Fouzia Madhouni
“It always has to start with the seed, and you could have very likely been that seed.” – Mark Pattison
“I didn’t come from the middle class, but it was below the middle class, and I only could afford the necessary things, which are a school, and that’s it.” – Fouzia Madhouni
“I freaked out and they were like, we’re going to do a movie, I mean a film on you.” – Fouzia Madhouni
“We work so hard when it comes to the organization. We have four people in the organization, but we do what a lot couldn’t do.” – Fouzia Madhouni
“The whole perspective of football changed when I got sick.” – Fouzia Madhouni
“Goals are just dreams unless you get out there and you fulfill them.” – Mark Pattison
“Motivation and dreams are the only things that give me that drive to do something in my life.” – Fouzia Madhouni