On February 3, Soccer Without Borders locations throughout the U.S. celebrated National Girls and Women in Sports Day. Though most events were virtual, SWB sites found unique ways to come together to recognize the significant role women and girls play in sports.
The importance of providing and celebrating safe spaces for girls to participate in sports cannot be overstated. Girls who participate in sports have on average higher grades, higher self-esteem and confidence, and increased physical fitness. Getting more girls involved in sports contributes to healthier families and communities, creating the foundation for a more equitable world.
In Boston, girls watched Girls Fest, a virtual event featuring interviews with athletes from a variety of sports, and discussed the importance of the different panelists. At SWB Baltimore, girls across the program came together virtually to talk about what empowers them and how being an athlete makes them feel. Providing spaces for girls to think about and discuss their role in sports and the world around them is paramount to empowering them to use their voices in broader spaces. In Oakland, girls watched highlights from previous Women’s World Cup Tournaments, reflecting on how far women and soccer have come — and seeing that they are part of a global community of female athletes. SWB Colorado participants gathered virtually to watch documentaries about Marta and the US Women’s National Team, followed by discussions and Kahoot learning sessions about female athletes.
While the ongoing pandemic forced SWB programs to celebrate NGWSD virtually, participants still benefitted from learning about the history of women in sports and conversations about how being an athlete is part of their identity.
As Soccer Without Borders actively aims to get more girls involved in the game, celebrating the accomplishments of female athletes helps girls visualize what they are capable of achieving. Showing girls the strength and size of the community that they are a part of further reinforces the support that they have to achieve their goals.