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  • Soccer Without Borders

Reflections on Play It Forward 2020

Soccer Without Borders wrapped up 2020 with great positivity during our annual Play It Forward campaign. Throughout the month of December, SWB shared stories of how we created Belonging, Equity, Healthy Lifestyles, and Community through the course of the previous year. As we reflected on all that our participants and coaches accomplished in 2020 despite unprecedented challenges, our community of supporters and friends rallied in support.

During the month of the campaign, more than 780 donors, including hundreds of new donors, contributed over $200,000 to help us meet the urgent needs of the youth, families, and communities we serve in 2021 and beyond.

Some highlights from the 2020 Play It Forward campaign:

Our first-ever SWB Podcast, Coaches’ Connection in which our staff shared their

experiences creating belonging, advancing equity, promoting healthy lifestyles, and building community. Our podcasts were played over 1,000 times!

On social media, from sharing our posts to commenting with your own experiences, the interactions reminded us that Soccer Without Borders is truly an international family.

Your most liked posts on Instagram included the story of our SWB Oakland gift drive, which distributed 200+ gifts to participants and their families, and the work of Coach Fahaby and our SWB Uganda program towards getting Girls in the Game through the Global Goal 5 Accelerator.

On Facebook, you loved reading about our SWB Siblings, for whom SWB means family — quite literally. One of your other favorite stories was how our Futbol Sin Fronteras bodega remained open as a community resource when the pandemic forced shutdown of many businesses.

You helped us cap off 2020 by voting 444 times to choose our Photo of the Year “No Pressure” from SWB Uganda. This photo comes from more carefree days before the COVID-19 pandemic created a need for social distancing and temporarily halted in-person activities. But it also reminds us what we hope to return to in the upcoming year and the pure joy that SWB brings our participants, staff, and communities.

You told us what motivated you to donate to Soccer Without Borders …

A few of you had just learned about SWB for the first time, some have been volunteers or participants, and many of you made your donation a holiday gift to a soccer player or coach in your life. We even received a creative donation from 10-year old Nicholas who juggled his way to raising over $1,600 for SWB Boston.

Some of the unique reasons “why” you gave:

“Helping young people is important for the future of our world.”

“Love everything SWB does - creating belonging in a time when kids need it most!”

“Inspiring to continue to see the SWB family grow especially in the face of such challenges”


“As a female soccer player, I understand the benefits of the game and being a part of a team. I believe in the work Soccer Without Borders does and want to support the continuation of these programs.”

“This donation is in honor of our grandson, who is a wonderful soccer player. He chose to donate to your organization so that other kids can enjoy soccer as much as him.”

“2020 was a tough year. Within your established communities, SWB is filling in so many gaps - food insecurity, educational inequities, preventative healthcare. I am inspired by SWB's use of soccer/sport to help young people realize more of their potential.”

2020 was a tough year indeed. But our Soccer Without Borders staff, coaches, and volunteers at all seven sites rallied to provide critical support to our participants, their families, and our communities. As the calendar turns to 2021 and we continue to grapple with the pandemic, SWB will remain nimble and creative in our efforts to advance equity and create opportunities for vulnerable youth worldwide.


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