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Oakland, CA, USA

Oakland, CA is an SWB core program


Program Background:

SWB Oakland creates positive team communities for recently arrived refugee and immigrant youth. Harnessing the power of soccer as a universal language, SWB Oakland engages newcomer, English Language Learning youth from more than 25 countries. As youth adjust to their new and often difficult circumstances, their SWB team provides an avenue for positive engagement. In a safe and supportive environment, youth build meaningful friendships, community connections and powerful mentor/mentee relationships, which play an important role in their successful integration into their new lives in the US.

Program Description:

SWB Oakland runs seven teams, serving more than 170 core participants throughout the year (boys U14, U16, U17, U18 and U19 and girls U14 and U19).  Each team practices twice a week and plays games on weekends as part of the Alameda Contra Costa Youth Soccer League and the Albany-Berkeley Soccer Club. The high-school aged teams serve students at Oakland International High School (OIHS). The student population at OIHS is made up of youth from 31 different countries that speak 29 distinct languages. One hundred percent of the students are English Language Learners. SWB works closely with OIHS leadership and teachers to build a program that positively contributes to a healthy school culture and meets broader school objectives. Middle school participants come from seven different Oakland middle schools.

In addition to regular practices and games, youth in the program participate in special events throughout the year; including team camping trips to Northern California's beautiful state parks, trips to watch the San Jose Earthquakes, service learning days, off-field lessons and workshops, and participation the Global Peace Games. During the summer months, SWB Oakland runs the annual Oakland Refugee Community Soccer Camp as well as other camp initiatives in the Bay Area and helps support summer school programming for newcomer students. 

Program Partners:

Albany-Berkeley Soccer Club

Bay Area Wilderness Training

East Bay Refugee Forum

Big City Mountaineers

Club Marin FC

International Rescue Committee

Oakland Fund for Children and Youth

Oakland International High School

Oakland Unified School District – Department of Transitional Students and Families

One World Futbol Project

Refugee Transitions

Senda Athletics

The Stern Family Foundation


Program Staff:

Ben Gucciardi, Program Director,

Katy Nagy, Program Coordinator,

Shea Morrissey, Volunteer Coordinator and Head Coach,

Ye-Htet Soe, Coach Across America,

Omar Ramirez, Head Coach 

Martin Angus, Head Coach

Recent Highlights:

Soccer As Unifier: SWB Program at Oakland International High School Featured on How Youth Learn

United by Soccer, Kids from 32 Countries Fight for A Field -  Mashable Feature

Finding Home Turf: SWB Oakland U19 Giirs Captain's Story Featured in The Washington Post

Feature by OIHS Students for KDOL TV

From Infancy to an All Inclusive Environment by Shea Morrissey

Oakland North Camp Feature

Outdoor Education: Visiting Slide Ranch