Partnership to get newcomer immigrant and refugee youth connected to local league
Seattle, WA – One of the greatest joys of sport is the opportunity to play in competitive games. Suiting up, representing your community, and working together with your teammates towards a common goal is a uniquely unifying experience.
For newcomer immigrant and refugee youth that participate in Soccer Without Borders Seattle, game play provides a space for players to connect across cultures, apply skills learned throughout the week, and navigate the emotions of winning and losing alongside caring peers and coach-mentors. Additionally, more than any other activity we offer, the incentive of meaningful games contributes to our program retention and our ability to successfully build bridges between the soccer field and the classroom.
While the benefits of game play are clear, coordinating the logistics of SWB teams playing in sanctioned leagues is a significant challenge. For all games we provide transportation, snacks, player equipment and coordinate with youth and families to support the completion of needed paperwork. Before we can even work towards coordinating those logistics, we first need a league that is supportive of our participation, appreciates the diverse composition of SWB teams and is interested in working together to problem solve when complications arise.
Soccer Without Borders Seattle is proud and grateful to have found such a partner in the Seattle Youth Soccer Association (SYSA). Thanks to the SYSA, our high school boys team based at the Seattle World School is playing in weekly matches as a part of the Capitol Hill Youth Soccer Club. While the season is young, the positive impact of these games can already be seen among team members who are learning and growing on the field and showing new levels of pride in their team membership.
President of Capitol Hill Youth Soccer Club, Shelly Chinn, explains her club’s interest in the partnership: “we feel that soccer should be across all ethnicities and economics to unite youth.”
Ed D’Alessandro, SYSA’s Executive Director further commented that “Seattle Youth Soccer Association and its Capitol Hill club are excited to be partnering with Soccer Without Borders. SYSA’s mission dovetails nicely with SWB’s. We want to bring soccer into the lives of children, so they can experience the joy, character building, and health benefits of youth soccer. As a welcoming organization, SYSA wants to bring more members of diverse and newly immigrated cultures into our soccer family. Our Capitol Hill club has done a fantastic job of working to ensure a smooth entry for the SWB team. It’s a joy to watch the kids play in our league. We hope we can expand our partnership over the years to provide a great soccer experience to even more of SWB’s members.”
Through this partnership, Seattle Youth Soccer Association and Capitol Hill Youth Soccer have sponsored SWB Seattle’s high school boys team’s participation in the league, provided uniforms, supported the registration process for every player and made us feel incredibly welcomed into their community. In the spring, similar support will be provided to enter our high school’s girls team in their first-ever league.
About Seattle Youth Soccer Association
SYSA is a volunteer driven, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides fun and healthy soccer programs for over 12,000 players in Seattle and Shoreline each year. Comprised of twelve neighborhood clubs and one premier/select club, SYSA is the largest provider of youth soccer in the Seattle area, and a member of the Washington Youth Soccer Association. Our soccer programs help children from 5 years old through high school enjoy the sport of soccer in the fall and spring. To learn more about SYSA, visit our web site at www.sysa.org.
About Soccer Without Borders Seattle
Soccer Without Borders is a 501(c)(3) organization that uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing newcomer immigrant, refugee and asylee youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success. The recipient of the 2017 FIFA Diversity Award, SWB directly serves over 2,000 youth annually through a year-round, team-based model. Through soccer, education, and community-building activities, SWB youth advance academically, develop personally, build social capital, make healthy choices, and gain English language skills. Soccer Without Borders Seattle launched in October 2017 and currently runs summer programs in Kent and a year-round program based out of the Seattle World School. More information can be found at soccerwithoutborders.org/seattle.