On March 22nd, 2015, the Soccer Without Borders Oakland Under-19 Boys team with youth representing 8 different nations: Honduras, Burma, Guatemala, Eritrea, El Salvador, Yemen, DRC, and Mexico, won the California Youth Soccer Association – Cal North Association Cup.
The CYSA Association Cup Tournament is two weekends of face paced, competitive soccer. The final of this tournament has been won by the same team 3 out of the last 4 years, the Corning Diablos. Indeed, it was the Corning team we had to face in the finals.
With the odds against them and nerves building up, the boys decided to stick to what they can control. "We cannot control the referees, we cannot control how hot it is outside, but we can control how we react to things." - Angel, 17, Mexico. Before the tournament, our team met to set goals. Their goal was not to win the tournament. They had three goals: Respect, believe in yourself, never give up. "If we do those three things, no matter what, we will be successful." Ravis, 18, Democratic Republic of Congo.
After two well-fought halves of intense, passion-filled soccer; and a score of 5-2, the SWB boys walked away champions. We could not be prouder of our student athletes. It was not their goal scoring that led to their success, it was their goal setting. The victory was significant for the communities of SWB Oakland, Oakland International High School, and the Albany Berkeley Soccer club, marking the first time in more than 15 years a team from Oakland has won the event. At the end of the game, the boys all understood, at the experiential level, that if they work hard and put their minds to it, they can do anything, on the field, and here in their new lives in America.