Maram AlButairi

Financial analyst & football manager

I was born and raised in the Eastern Province, in Jubail Industrial City to be specific, one of the most beautiful cities in the Kingdom.

My dad was a quality assurance manager with SABIC (Saudi chemical manufacturing company) and my mom worked in a school.

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I went to a number of schools throughout my early educational life until graduating, and the experience taught me to be accepting of all different types of people.

I am the eldest of my two brothers and two sisters, the leader of the pack. The Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu had a lot of open spaces, giving me and my siblings a chance to take part in various sports and football was always an option.

At the age of 18, I enrolled at the King Faisal University in Dammam and received my diploma in accounting in 2007. I worked as a financial analyst at the Saad Specialist Hospital in Alkhobar and soon after moved to the US to continue my studies. 

At Drury University in Springfield, Missouri, I noticed that many of my colleagues were on sports scholarships and there was a constant balance between their education and commitment to the sport of their choice, something I would pick up myself a few years later.

In 2012, I gained a bachelor’s degree in business administration and finance from Drury University and moved back to Saudi Arabia where I worked in a variety of financial roles within Saudi Aramco, most notably as a trade confirmation officer in the Aramco Trading Co., and as a business developer for the Saudi Aramco Entrepreneurship Center (Wa’ed).

I am currently a financial analyst with Saudi Aramco, working for the treasury department in the corporate finance section at the company’s global headquarters in Dhahran.

I am very proud of my corporate career and continue to make the most of the professional opportunities that come my way while striving for a fulfilling and long-standing career in corporate finance with Saudi Aramco. However, that is not my only passion.

It is often said that female football players always start as goalkeepers, so growing up playing with my siblings and cousins, I was always placed in that position.

A few years after returning from the US, I needed to find a balance of my own with my job at Saudi Aramco and as a mother-of-two, and it came through playing football. 

I found a community, people from every walk of life and all we did was just play. I learned how important football was for women in helping to understand teamwork, be empathetic, and find happiness.

In 2015-2016, I became a volunteer coach and over time discovered I had the ability to mentor and coach multiple teams and different age groups, a trait that empowered me.

I became a dedicated and die-hard football fan, player, coach and manager spending the past five years gaining a wealth of experience and recently represented my nation at a women’s football coaches sports visitor program in America, under the US State Department and human development organization FHI 360. 

I also represented the Saudi Arabian Football Federation at the Asian Football Confederation’s Women’s Football Development Seminar 2018 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

I am the executive director of the Eastern Flames Sports Club, which was established in 2017. It initially started as an amateur sports club but developed into a competitive sports team receiving training from the Football Barcelona Youth Academy.

Football is not just simply a sport, it is a discipline. It is an investment in oneself to develop and strive for something higher, and for me it is a family affair with my brother, sister and kids all involved. 

Throughout my travels, I always gained a little bit of experience and brought it back with me, to better the game, improve as a coach and help players to become better versions of themselves through their love of the game.

In June 2019, I was privileged to meet King Salman as part of the General Sports Authority (at the time) representing football alongside four other selected sports. I was recognized as a leading female footballer and a sport influencer. 

This year, I have been preparing for the Saudi Women’s Football Cup as I represented the Eastern Province. The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak brought everything to a halt but it has not stopped us from continuing our training virtually.

Our fitness trainer is coaching players through video conference calls, and I have been monitoring and keeping track of our players to ensure that their stamina has not wavered. 

Football has not only given me many moments of joy — for myself, my team, and my children — but has also allowed me to see the world. This has enabled me to continue pushing a message close to my heart, that of raising global awareness of female athletes in Saudi Arabia, as well as seeking to lead, coach and help many future generations of Saudi women football players.

It is with this passion and dedication to the sport that I continue to seek to make a difference in my home country, by empowering others, especially women, through a love of football.

Follow Maram AlButairi
Twitter: @malbutairi
Instagram: @malbutairi/
Linkedin: @malbutairi/

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