Together as a staff and Soccer Without Borders community, we want to say this to each and every one of you, and we hope that you hear us:
We see you, we care about you, and we're so glad you're here.
The Soccer Without Borders community includes people who come from every walk of life, every corner of the globe. Many in our community have been displaced, and have been rebuilding their lives in their new cities and countries for a very short time. Our community includes people of different races, gender identities, faith practices, sexual orientations, socio-economic classes, cultures, histories, and life journeys. We believe this not only makes our community stronger; it is at the very core of what allows our community to thrive.
Yesterday was a very difficult day. So many of you expressed feelings of fear, wondering what will happen to your family, to your freedoms, to your right to the pursuit of happiness as an equal and valued member of American society. We will stand with you to protect you and every one of those things in any way that we can.
Many of you expressed feelings of sadness at the hurtful words that felt so personal, and were so widely amplified during this lengthy campaign period. We will cry with you and find the words and resources to begin the process of healing.
Many of you expressed feelings of helplessness, doubting the safety and comfort that all adults should seek to provide to every child. We will protect you, reinforcing the bonds of mentorship and caring that are already strong until they are strong enough to make you feel safe again.
Many of you expressed feelings of confusion, hearing conflicting and complicated information about what happens next. We will be open with you, and communicate every step of the way.
You have courageously shared your stories with us and with each other. You bravely recall your story of forced displacement from your home country, the arduous and uncertain process of relocation, and the isolation that comes with starting over. Though we may have taught you the English word "resilience", you have most certainly taught us the meaning.
Today and every day, we will celebrate the diversity of our community and that of the United States as a whole. Not everyone has had the chance to know you, to hear your stories, to celebrate them with us. We will continue to invite people to join our community, but more importantly to see and participate in the one we all share as a humanity.
Across Soccer Without Borders teams, one of our favorite ways to close a practice is with the cheer: 1, 2, 3 Together! Know that these words do not just apply to the people in your huddle, but to all of us.
We see you, we care about you, and we are so glad that you're here.
If you want to send a message of support to SWB participants, please submit one here!
Note: This letter has been slightly edited from the emailed version to eliminate words that felt partisan to some readers. We are not and have never been a partisan or political organization. The message and content of the letter reflects an honest description of the questions that kids have actually been asking our coaches since November 9, and the ways that our coaches have responded. The letter is not a stunt; we are actually reading it to our participants and hope that their families see it as well as a source of comfort. We are an organization that works together across all differences, including political beliefs, to build bridges, celebrate inclusion, and create a culture of welcoming for our newest neighbors. We believe these to be universal values and innate qualities of the United States of America, not partisan beliefs.