Soccer Without Borders (SWB) is more than just any other soccer team. It’s a family. I say that because it’s not all about winning or being the best at all. It’s about love, support, and comradely relationships with your teammates (and coaches of course). In SWB girls and boys from all around the world come to Oakland International High School and receive what I believe is a good quality education that allows them to adjust to the American lifestyle while also maintaining their deeply embedded cultural routes. SWB embraces this idea with open arms by finding a common interest most people have around the globe: soccer.
I came to SWB 2 years ago during my Sophomore year when I was going through a difficult time with school and my family. Being completely honest I think my life was coming apart at the seams and even the simplest of tasks were becoming increasingly complicated for me to do. Then I met SWB and everything just began to piece themselves back together. I met Coach Katy, Ben, Htet, and a large quantity of new fellow soccer players. They are some of the kindest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. It’s really uncommon to meet strangers who soon come to feel like family in such a short amount of time so this was an incredible and eye-opening experience.
For me soccer has always been the one thing that I have done continuously throughout my life. Ever since I was 5, I have been on a soccer team and before that I went to my siblings' soccer games, watching and playing with my own ball on the sidelines. Soccer has given me passion and the ability to be a courageous and fierce young woman. It has given me a way to conduct my excessive amounts of energy in a healthy way. Soccer is who I am. It’s something that helped me overcome not having any friends when I was younger, and it’s what has permitted me to turn all of my negative emotions I didn’t know how to deal with into something that I love. Being in SWB has helped me see that I am just as reliant on soccer as I am on breathing.
Now I am a Senior in high school with a 3.04 GPA, an internship with SWB, and I have applied to colleges for next year. My team and coaches have always been there for me with my struggles in life. Of course, when my teacher said to find something that you will really love and can appreciate over the course of your last year, my first thought was SWB. I am really enjoying every Thursday afternoon I spend at SWB during my internship hours. Every week I come to North Oakland and I work alongside the coaches I have admired for years. I’m very grateful that they gave me an internship because I know this is an amazing opportunity that won’t come around every day. I’m here because I want to help people when they are going through tough spots in their lives just as they did with me. Furthermore, I want to incorporate myself into people’s lives as a strong and supportive leader and mentor, just as other people throughout my life have.