Soccer Without Borders believes that the potential of soccer to make change is deeper than simply playing the game.
Soccer Without Borders first began programming in 2006 to address three critical issues facing young people in underserved communities throughout the world:
A lack of safe spaces where young people feel cared for, have a voice and can experience the joy of sport.
A lack of opportunity for youth to actively explore social issues and community challenges.
A lack of social capital and access to potential opportunities for education, employment and personal growth.
Read more about SWB's founding in Between the Lines.
Over the last eleven years, we have worked to refine our understanding of how our programs can best address these issues in different cultural contexts. Through thousands of hours, conversations, successes, and failures in 11 countries with youth from more than 65 nations, we have built an adaptable program framework that deliberately addresses the most pressing needs of our target audience while leaving space for authentic local adaptation. Along the way, SWB has benefited from the dedication of many passionate staff, volunteers, partners and supporters, each of whom believes strongly in working to build a more just, equitable and harmonious world.
Our work has been recognized by awards and nominations such as:
-2016 Beyond Sport Award for Social Inclusion (Shortlist)
-2015 White House Champion of Change (Founder recognized)
-2015 Community MVP Award: New England Revolution (Boston Director, winner)
-2014 & 2012 NSCAA Jerry Yeagley Award (Co-Founder & Founder winners)
-2013 Beyond Sport Award for Social Inclusion (Shortlist)
-2012 Nike Girl Effect Challenge (Winner)
Watch Founder Ben Gucciardi discuss SWB's beginnings on the Morning Show in Cairo, Egypt (2010) below, and read a piece by Co-Founder Mary McVeigh on authentic collaboration and the power of sport to bridge gaps.
While there are many positive sport 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.
When it comes to marginalized populations such as refugees, soccer offers an accessible, familiar space to build friendships and social capital, gain confidence, experience success, acclimate to new surroundings, and heal.
Soccer provides an avenue for positive engagement, a platform for personal growth, and a toolkit for a brighter future.