- Sophia Goethals, SWB
Soccer Without Borders Colorado Launches Global Goal Five Leadership Clubs
When the Soccer Without Borders Colorado team was creating their Gender Action Plans for the Global Goal Five (GG5) USA Accelerator, they saw an opportunity to unify their work across the two main cities — Greeley and Aurora — and build stronger relationships in the process. Adapting to ongoing programmatic changes due to fluctuations in COVID rates posted challenges, though, to creating one unified plan. But the Colorado team was more than up to the task, and has been implementing and adapting their GG5 Action Plan throughout the spring.
The Colorado Action Plan created a Girls’ Leadership Club in each site. The rationale was multifold: in Aurora the teams are co-ed, and therefore creating an intentional space for girls to be with one another and learn felt most important. In Greeley, where there are girls-only teams, creating spaces for team cohesion and pathways for leadership skill development will accelerate the thriving program’s advancement.
The SWB Global Goal Five Accelerator is designed to use soccer as a tool to advance Global Goal 5: Gender Equality. The SWB USA Accelerator aims to support coaches and female leaders to increase girls’ participation in programs, strengthen their own leadership skills, and build a more gender-inclusive Soccer Without Borders.
Colorado’s Girls’ Leadership Club meetings are built around a variety of themes, from team building to positive self-image to communication. They integrate activities meant to encourage girls to try new things and discover new qualities within themselves. Activities ranging from rock climbing to tie-dying to personality tests have been crafted to provide ample opportunities for self-reflection and exploration.
“Watching them build confidence and watching them just get more hyped up at practice following these leadership groups has been amazing,” said Program Associate Mia Golin.
Having these spaces has already led to an increase in girls’ confidence and participation, and has even given rise to an increased rate of new girls joining the team.
“We’re inspired to have more girls engage as fully as possible in programs,” said Program Coordinator Laura Kranish.
As the leadership meetings continue, the Colorado cohort’s goal is to increase the momentum and excitement around these spaces, which engender positive peer relationships, learning opportunities, and confidence-building. Spaces outside of the soccer field like these leadership groups ensure that all girls are receiving holistic programming and are able to harness the tools they innately have to succeed. The Gender Action Plan has also allowed the Aurora and Greeley girls to connect with each other for the first time, demonstrating that they are part of a larger organization and community focused on lifting up their voices and leveling the playing field.