Soccer Without Borders first began programming in 2006 to address three critical issues facing young people in underserved communities throughout the world:
1. A lack of safe spaces where young people feel cared for, have a voice and can experience the joy of sport.
2. A lack of opportunity for youth to actively explore social issues and community challenges.
3. A lack of social capital and access to potential opportunities for education, employment and personal growth.
Over the last five years, SWB has worked to refine its understanding of how its programs can best address these issues in different cultural contexts. SWB has sought to maintain an adaptable program model that authentically reflects the needs of the communities it works in, while also providing consistent program essentials, which must be in place in order for a SWB program to be effective. Along the way, SWB has benefited from the dedication of many passionate staff, volunteers, partners and supporters, each of whom has been infected by the soccer bug and believes strongly in working to build a more just, equitable and harmonious world.
While there are many positive sporting experiences, soccer is the most universally accessible; at its most basic level it offers playing opportunities that are low-cost, physically beneficial, inclusive and enjoyable. Soccer also enjoys worldwide popularity, making it the perfect platform from which to develop physically, socially, and individually. Soccer Without Borders believes that the potential of soccer to make change is deeper than simply playing the game. Rather, our programs are built around the philosophy that soccer’s interpersonal environment has unique potential to meaningfully impact participants. Within that environment, youth are exposed to the benefits of soccer and team sports for their bodies, voices, and minds, and supported in the application of these benefits to their everyday lives and future goals. Soccer provides an avenue for positive engagement, a platform for personal growth, and a toolkit for a brighter future.