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  • Soccer Without Borders

Soccer Without Borders Awarded Best International Practice on Sustainability by the UN

The International Board of Sustainable Businesses and Global Innovation (Entreps) in collaboration with the United Nations, has named Soccer Without Borders (SWB) a winner of the 5th Global Entreps Awards in the category of “Best International Practice on Sustainability.”

Voted upon by a network of 1,000 global jurors consisting of diplomats, public figures, researchers and influential citizens working towards sustainability and governance, the award stands in recognition of SWB’s contribution to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a collection of seventeen objectives designed to serve as a "shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.”

Soccer Without Borders was chosen from a pool of 1,912 projects and initiatives from 126 countries and regions for our mission of using soccer as a vehicle for positive change, providing underserved youth with a toolkit to overcome obstacles to growth, inclusion, and personal success.

SWB programs are designed for young people to develop agency, a sense of belonging, promote positive identity, and the skills to contribute. Our holistic model combines soccer, education, and community activities, while proactively reducing barriers to entry that typically leave newcomer refugee and immigrant youth excluded.

“The soccer field is one of the few places where newcomer youth immediately feel

confident, valued, familiar, and like they can express themselves and contribute,” says SWB Founder Ben Gucciardi.

Specifically focusing upon SDG 4 (Quality Education), SDG 5 (Gender Equality), and SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), SWB’s direct service programming serves over 4,000 youth per year coming from 75 countries of origin and speaking 54 different languages.

Since its inception in 2006, regular SWB participants in the United States have maintained a 90% or greater high school graduation rate. Compared to a typical high school graduation rate of 63% for English Language Learners nationwide, participation in SWB makes it ~30% more likely that youth will receive their high school diploma.

Based in the city of Granada, SWB’s Nicaragua hub specializes on gender equity programming and utilizes soccer as a way to build leadership, improve educational outcomes, and strengthen social-emotional skills for underserved girls, ages 5-20. SWB Nicaragua operates 11 teams, offering activities and access to our youth center 45 weeks per year, 6 days per week.

“We are incredibly honored to receive the 'Best International Practice on Sustainability' award,” says Gucciardi. “Not only does this recognition acknowledge our dedication to creating a more inclusive and equitable world through soccer, but also highlights the critical role of sports in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.”


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