Soccer Without Borders (SWB) takes an innovative approach to converting the uniting power of the sport into meaningful opportunities for newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth. Established in 2006, Soccer Without Borders provides free programming to youth from over 60 nations, living in some of the United States’ most challenging urban areas where youth are disproportionately at-risk for academic failure, gang recruitment, drugs and other unhealthy choices. SWB participants and their families have fled some of the world’s most challenging conflicts, hailing from the Central African Republic, Somalia, Afghanistan, Congo, Eritrea, Honduras, El Salvador, Burma, Burundi, Iraq, and Syria, among many more.

Leaving your country is not a decision any family wants to make. The trauma associated with starting over with a new culture and language leaves many newcomer youth feeling isolated and overwhelmed. Too often, these young people turn to unhealthy behaviors to cope. The soccer field is one of the few places where youth immediately feel confident, counted, and like they can express themselves and contribute. Soccer can reach these young people in a way that no other activity can.

Our model leverages the universal language of soccer, the safety net of a team, and a skill-building framework to empower newcomer refugee, asylee, and immigrant youth to advance academically, develop personally, make healthy lifestyle choices, build social capital, and develop language skills. This model has been applied in 8 U.S. cities to date with remarkable results, including a 70% retention rate, 95% high school graduation rate, and 90%+ college enrollment for veteran programs in the Bay Area, Baltimore, and Northern Colorado.


Soccer Without Borders USA

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