At Soccer Without Borders, we serve youth participants from over 70 countries of origin who speak more than 50 languages. It's impossible to know, understand, and practice every cultural norm within our diverse community. But what we can do, every day, in every program, is embed respect and cultural humility between participants, coaches, volunteers, staff, and families into the fabric of our organization.
In many cultures, it's a show of respect and cultural humility to "Leave your shoes at the door." For our participants, this looks like not only sharing aspects of their own culture - foods, words, holidays, and music are all great ways - with others, but also being curious and open to learning about teammates' cultures. Through mutual empathy and openness, teams start to feel like family, and SWB feels like home.
This year, our annual Play It Forward campaign is celebrating 32 stories from 32 Men's World Cup countries, each detailing how soccer is creating belonging and uplifting communities around the world. Below, we have highlighted five stories which have captured the spirit of our "Leave Your Shoes at the Door" mantra.