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  • Soccer Without Borders

SWB Maryland Youth Leaders Featured by Fox 45 Baltimore

This past summer, our Soccer Without Borders (SWB) Maryland hub was featured in a special report by local news affiliate Fox 45 Baltimore. The feature, which focuses on the newcomer experience and the way that the world's game has the power to create positive change, shines a spotlight on two of our current youth leaders, Alex and Semira.

"For Alex and Semira," said SWB Maryland Director Nick Brooks. "Soccer represents a place where they grew and became leaders. I watched them both go from quiet young kids who were learning English and we're getting used to life in Baltimore, to being vocal leaders who are standing up as coaches and referees who are confidently explaining the rules of the game. I think soccer to them represents their hopes and their goals."

If designed with intention, team sports present endless opportunities to practice leadership skills. At SWB, we create opportunities for participants to develop their leadership through captainships, refereeing, coaching, public speaking, mentoring, service projects, and more. Alex and Semira are both incredible examples of those who have made this leadership journey, those who have transitioned from participants to coaches. By truly reflecting those they serve, Alex and Semira are able to be authentic role models who can relate to the lived experiences of the youth they now coach.

"It's more than just a program," reflected Semira. "It's more than just soccer. It's more than just classes. It's like a life lesson here."

SWB uses soccer as a vehicle for positive change in the United States, Nicaragua, and Uganda. Each year, we serve more than 4,000 newcomer refugee and immigrant youth aged 5 to 20, arriving from 65 different countries and speaking 47 different languages. Our work combines soccer play and instruction with education and community-building activities in a year-round program model that helps young people like Alex and Semira overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.


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