BECOME A TEAM LEADER
"If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. If you have come because your liberation is bound with mine, then let us work together."
If you are considering applying to be a Team Leader, you are most likely a service-oriented person. While this is undoubtedly needed, we are most interested in those who are not only willing to work on behalf of others, but also willing to think critically about what it means to ‘help’. Working with and for people who are living in material poverty is a complicated endeavor, and one that requires skillful action, patience and openness. As a Team Leader, you must be willing to immerse yourself in the local culture, as immersion brings understanding, and understanding brings mutual trust. Only with trust and understanding can we work together to bring about positive change.
During your time abroad you will be much more than a teacher of the game of soccer. For every skill or lesson taught, we hope and expect that you will learn one in return. We expect that you will not look at this community through the lens of poverty, but try to shed your assumptions and build a reciprocal relationship, learning as you teach. Learn more about our mission and values.
THE DETAILS //
What is a Team Leader?
Each year, Soccer Without Borders selects a small group of recent college graduates and young adults to serve as volunteer Team Leaders in Nicaragua and Uganda. Team Leaders gain valuable experience in the areas of international development, education and youth development and empowerment through sports. Team Leaders also develop meaningful relationships with local communities in order to promote sustainability. While Team Leaders come from a variety of backgrounds, most have recently graduated from college, while others have recently finished a graduate degree or are young professionals. Although their experiences are varied, Team Leaders share a number of important qualities including passion, open-mindedness, positivity, flexibility, independence, cultural sensitivity and ability to work in a team. Additionally, Team Leaders must be proficient with Microsoft Office programs and Google Docs and possess some coaching or teaching experience. At SWB’s Nicaragua site, Team Leaders also must be conversational in Spanish.
What does a Team Leader do?
Team Leaders are an essential part of the Soccer Without Borders team. Team Leaders usually have broad and varied responsibilities including planning and executing soccer practices, team-building activities, workshops, and lessons, as well as providing academic and scholarship support and recruiting new participants to the program. Team Leaders also provide logistical and programmatic support to staff and volunteers, forge positive relationships with schools and community members, and plan special events and tournaments. Additionally, Team Leaders are assigned “behind the scenes” roles such as communications, monitoring and evaluation, marketing, partnerships, and other capacity building responsibilities.
What is life like as a Team Leader?
Team Leaders can request to be assigned to either Uganda or Nicaragua. The position is a year-long, beginning in mid-June and ending the following June. Team Leaders participate in a four day residential training in Cambridge, Massachusetts before flying to their sites. Each site is very different, although Kampala and Granada are both urban centers. Because each site is distinct, Team Leaders experiences can vary greatly.
>>Granada: Granada is located an hour south of Nicaragua’s capital, Managua, and Managua International Airport (MGA). It is consistently hot in Granada, with temperatures ranging from 80-95 degrees year round. A former Spanish colony, Granada is a small city with a central square and Cathedral, and a significant tourism industry. Spanish is the primary language and proficient English speakers among locals are rare. Nicaragua is widely considered the safest country in Central America, and Granada is generally safe as well. As any foreigner living in a city, there are precautions to be taken at night and with your belongings, all of which is covered during your training. Granada has good access to internet, drinkable water (though we recommend purified water), and indoor plumbing. Team Leaders live in the Soccer Without Borders (locally called Futbol Sin Fronteras) office, a former hostel. Each Team Leader has a private room and bathroom, and access to common spaces. Because the house doubles as our activity center, visitors are common, particularly girls from the program, many of whom live nearby. The location is central, about a 20-minute walk from the field, 7 minutes from the center of town, and about 10 minutes from the neighborhood where most of our staff live. Click here for more information on
>>Kampala: Kampala is Uganda’s capital city, and is located 30 minutes away from the international airport in the city of Entebbe. Straddling the equator, there is little year round fluctuation in temperature and no real winter or summer in Kampala. The hottest months are January and February when the average daytime range is 52-91 degrees. Nsambya, where the interns live and the program is based, is a neighborhood in Kampala. Nsambya has some larger houses and some very small, informal houses. Team Leaders live in a house in a secure compound in Nsambya. The compound is shared with two other Ugandan families, who each have their own house as well. In the Team Leader house, there are 3 bedrooms, a kitchen, a dining room, and a living space. It takes about 5 minutes to walk from the compound to the center. Kampala is largely regarded as a fast-paced bustling place with heavy traffic in the downtown areas. Kampala is also a cosmopolitan city, boasting large populations from India, Ethiopia, Somalia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Most services and amenities can be found in Kampala. Luganda is the primary language in Kampala; however, most people are fluent in English. While safety is not a huge concern, being aware of your belongings and surroundings is recommended. Walking alone at night is strongly discouraged. Kampala does not have drinkable tap water, though your housing will have running water and indoor plumbing. Click here for more information on SWB Uganda.
How does fundraising work?
Soccer Without Borders provides certain work-related expenses on site, and also covers housing and meals for the U.S. orientation. SWB does not provide financial compensation to Team Leaders or transportation to the orientation or to/from Uganda and Nicaragua. Team Leaders are responsible for securing funds for flights, visa fees, health insurance, meals and other living expenses, which range between $6,000-$8,000. Soccer Without Borders will provide suggestions and guidelines to help with fundraising.
Is there access to health care?
Granada has plenty of private clinics, pharmacies and a hospital a couple miles away. There are no required vaccinations, though several recommended. It is important that you speak with your doctor before your trip and check out what the CDC suggests. We recommend that you purchase travel medical insurance as well, depending on the international coverage of your existing plan.
Kampala has several clinics and a hospital near by your residence in Nsambya, in addition to regular pharmacies. There are several required vaccinations for travel to Uganda. It is important that you check with your doctor before your trip. These websites also provide important information about recommended health precautions: WHO website; Travel Health. We recommend that you purchase travel medical insurance as well, depending on the international coverage of your existing plan.
What is a typical week like as a Team Leader?
During your typical week at a Soccer Without Borders program, you will lead or assist in 3-5 soccer sessions, 2 off-field team-building sessions or workshops, and daily academic support, English, or tutoring sessions, as well as preparation, recruitment, and follow-up for all of these. As with any out-of-school environment, this requires evening and weekend work, meaning that your typical day might start at 10am and finish at 7:30pm, and your weekend may run from Saturday afternoon to Monday afternoon.
What does success look like in an SWB program?
Our vision is for all youth to realize their inherent potential. Our programs are designed to specifically provide avenues to growth, inclusion, and personal success. Read more about what that looks like here!
What can I do after my year as a Team Leader?
Soccer Without Borders has an alumni network of over 60 Team Leaders and long-term volunteers who continue to be a part of SWB after they come back from their time abroad. Many have continued to volunteer for SWB locally and some have gone on to work for SWB USA. Others have pursued various jobs and professional degrees such as medicine, public health, law, and education. Many alumni continue to be engaged in the SWB family through events and activities.
How do I apply?
Click here to fill out an application! Be prepared to list two references and to send a copy of your resume to upon submission of your application. The application process is rolling. If selected, your first interview will be with a past Team Leader. A second round interview will be with the Program Director or Coordinator. If possible geographically, second round interviews may take place in person (not required). If offered a slot, you will have two weeks to respond to the offer, or request an extension.