Meet the Match

An Israeli Chairwoman Promotes Inclusion through Football

Daphna Goldschmidt is the chairperson of Hapoel Katamon Jerusalem Football Club. The first woman in Israel to serve as chairperson of a professional sports club, she is a pioneer in the movement for creating management and other sports leadership opportunities for women in her country.

Born in Jerusalem to a family steeped in the city’s soccer culture, Daphna was a founding member of Hapoel Katamon, the first fan-owned club in Israel, in 2007. Her work at the club focuses in two key areas: developing  programs  that  promote  peace  and  shared  living between people of diverse communities, and creating programs  that  foster  gender  equality  through  sports.

In addition to serving as chairwoman, Daphna has played a key role in launching the club’s media department and its girl’s and women’s program. It’s girl’s and women’s program is the only such program being offered in Jerusalem and currently has more than 80 participants. The club’s under-14 team has finished second in the Israeli Championship for two consecutive seasons, and Daphna is confident that if she can continue growing the program the club will be able to launch a senior women’s team by 2019.

Daphna is also involved in one of Hapoel Katamon’s other key initiatives, its Neighborhood Leagues, which bring together individuals from underserved areas of Jerusalem—secular and religious Jews, Muslims, and Christians—for sports activities. This league includes weekly practices, tutoring sessions for participants, and a monthly tournament focusing on fair play and sportsmanship.

By participating in the GSMP, Daphna learned from  American women in sports leadership about the ways she can overcome obstacles faced by women in Israel to sustainably grow women’s soccer. She has also discovered tools and resources for community outreach.

Daphna earned a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Haifa. Outside of work, she enjoys yoga, pilates, studying history, and key lime pie. She and her husband, Ron, have a rescue dog named Jes.

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