With the amazing community of support of over 500 volunteers and dozens of partners, Soccer Without Borders served over 2,600 participants across our 7 locations and 26 communities in 2019. During the last week of 2019, we highlighted individuals and partners who have gone above and beyond in our core programs with a few awards on social media. In case you missed it, we put together a review of all the 2019 SWB awardees.
2019 ALUMNI OF THE YEAR
Nyunt Khin (SWB Oakland)
Nyunt Khin has been involved with Soccer Without Borders - Oakland since 2009 as a player, and for the last few years as a coach. In 2019, Nyunt has stepped up both on and off the field. On the field, Nyunt took on a new leadership role as the head coach of the U17 boys team, serving as an amazing mentor for his participants. Off the field, Nyunt played a bigger role in preparing for the annual Refugee Community Soccer Camp, planning the fall season during the staff retreat, and planning weekend logistics to ensure participants get the best experience possible. Nyunt’s presence, experience, and expertise are crucial to SWB Oakland.
Rozina Embaye (SWB Colorado)
Rozina quickly found family, strength, and confidence when she joined Soccer Without Borders Colorado after moving to Greeley with her family in 2014. In 2019, Rozina graduated and became a youth leader in Greeley’s program over the summer, serving as a translator for home visits families new to the program, and an ambassador for the program among her cultural community. Today, Rozina coaches at SWB while studying in college. She shares, “I get excited every day knowing that I can teach and make friendships with the players. Not only do I get to teach them but I always learn something new from them.”
2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR
Ari Biswas (SWB Seattle)
Ari’s shared passion with the players and technical skills were key to the development of Soccer Without Borders Seattle’s first high school boys team. After each season, Ari increasingly dedicated more time to assistant coaching. Ari has made an outstanding impact on Seattle’s young program through his multidimensional support as a coach, driver, and most recently as an advisory board member.
2019 YOUTH AMBASSADORS OF THE YEAR
Walt Whitman and Bethesda Chevy Chase High School Girls Teams (SWB Maryland)
This was the 5th consecutive year that two high schools, Walt Whitman and Bethesda Chevy Chase High School, leveraged their annual "Battle of Bethesda" rivalry game for a "Greater Goal". With support from Positive Tracks, leading up to the game the two teams get creative to support their local community through soccer clinics, and also raise funds through events like car washes and bake sales. This year the two teams together raised over $5,000 to support Soccer Without Borders - Baltimore, playing it forward for young people in the state of Maryland.
2019 ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS OF THE YEAR
Mike Woitalla (SWB Oakland)
Mike has had an outsized impact on Soccer Without Borders - Oakland, initially beginning as a volunteer assistant coach. Mike was an extremely consistent presence at practices, and eventually became the head coach of one of the U18 boys teams, taking the lead with practices and games. As Executive Editor of Soccer America magazine, Mike has extensive knowledge in soccer in the US and lends his expertise beyond coaching and refereeing. Mike was instrumental in connecting Capelli Sport with SWB, which resulted in a transformative sponsorship that has made it possible for all SWB USA teams to access official SWB uniforms. Whether it is reffing, driving, coaching, or acting as a thought-partner, Mike is an essential member of the SWB Oakland community.
Natasha Qidwai (SWB Boston)
Since joining Soccer Without Borders - Boston two years ago, Natasha has been an amazing advocate for SWB Boston in nearly every way possible. Natasha started out as a volunteer assistant coach with the middle school girls and quickly became a consistent driver for their weekend games, supporting with one of the most pressing needs at SWB Boston. Natasha’s impact continued to deepen through SWB Boston’s annual fundraising events. Soon after Natasha joined the advisory board, she stepped up to organize the annual Small Goals Big Change tournament. This fall, Natasha joined Team SWB in the 2019 New York Marathon, raising over $3,000 for SWB Boston. Natasha’s passionate and caring presence combined with her tireless support has been nothing short of a powerful inspiration for SWB Boston.
2019 SENDA GAME OF THE YEAR
Oakland Alumni Tournament (SWB Oakland)
Every home game is made that much more special with Senda Athletics as our official game ball. Game play is an essential part of our holistic model, serving as motivation and opportunities to try new things, overcome challenges, and build identity over the course of a season. SWB teams played 869 games in our most recent year, with thousands of learning moments along the way. We find the games that matter most are ones that bring people together, building a stronger community and fostering an enduring feeling of connectedness. The Soccer Without Borders - Oakland Alumni Tournament is leading the way in demonstrating that connectedness doesn't have to end with graduation.
2019 CAPELLI TEAMS OF THE YEAR
Girls Generation (SWB Maryland)
Girls Generation (GG) is an all-girls team that dresses fiercely in all black and plays in a coed league at Soccer Without Borders - Baltimore. GG exudes positivity and inclusivity, always having fun and including everyone, no matter the score of the game. Every goal for GG is momentous and tremendously celebrated. In fact, GG’s energy is so infectious that it inspires others to cheer for them. It’s common for players from other teams and sometimes even the referee to join the GG huddle at halftime or end of game and cheer GG on. If a different team is not playing, they are always watching GG and cheering on the players. From every field in the complex, you can hear the crowd and players cheering, and see the mob of players hugging each other. GG has become an exemplar of what it looks like when team transforms into family. One of GG’s players, Rim, says that GG makes her "feel empowered and supported."
Las Guerreras (SWB Nicaragua)
Las Guerreras are the oldest team from SWB Nicaragua's first expansion site in La Villa, a neighborhood outside of central Granada. When Fútbol Sin Fronteras Granada first began running open fútbol sessions in 2014 in La Villa, players of various ages all played together, and for most of them, this was their first experience playing on a team. Since the conception of the program, the FSF staff has grown La Villa programming to three age-based teams. Las Guerreras represent a generation of girls who had the confidence to learn a new sport at an age where many young women drop out of sports entirely, in a place where girls' soccer didn't exist. Their coaches describe the team as, "full of happiness, teamwork, and camaraderie that sparks the spirit of peace." For the FSF program, Las Guerreras exemplify a winning attitude, having grown so much this year both as football players and individuals!
2019 GLOBAL GOAL 5 MOMENTS OF THE YEAR
Women's Sports Corps in Boaco (SWB Nicaragua)
In Nicaragua, a group of young leaders and program alumnae from Fútbol Sin Fronteras Granada traveled to the department of Boaco, a remote region outside of Managua, to implement a camp with soccer sessions and leadership workshops in collaboration with Plan International Nicaragua, Women Win, and the US Embassy Managua. Our Women's Sports Corps fellows exemplified what it means to play it forward, working hard to create more opportunities for women to participate in organized sport in a region where few opportunities for girls exist.
Women Take the Lead Workshop (SWB Uganda)
In Uganda, Soccer Without Borders Uganda led the Women Take the Lead workshop for the second year in arrow in collaboration with streetfootballworld and the Auswärtiges Amt. This workshop series brought together 40 young women representing 8 Football4Good organizations from 7 districts within Uganda (and 2 amazing workshop leaders!) for a week of training sessions on and off the pitch. Participants focused on the technical skills of football coaching as well as key aspects of inclusive coaching, including trauma-informed coaching, restorative practices, and gender inclusive program design.
2019 PHOTO OF THE YEAR
"Fierce Girls" (Visual credit: Nemo Design from the Girls in the Game video)
With 224 votes between Facebook and Instagram, the Photo of the Year is a snapshot from Nemo Design's Girls in the Game video. Check out the full 2 minute video below to see how these girls are breaking barriers every day to reach their goals.